MANILA — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte raised the rhetoric over his bloody anti-crime war to a new level Friday, comparing it to Hitler and the Holocaust and saying he would be “happy to slaughter” 3 million addicts.
Duterte issued his latest threat against drug dealers and users early Friday on returning to his home in southern Davao city after visiting Vietnam, where he discussed his anti-drug campaign with Vietnamese leaders and compared notes on battling the problem.
“Hitler massacred 3 million Jews … there’s 3 million drug addicts. There are. I’d be happy to slaughter them,” Duterte said, referring to a Philippine government estimate of the number of drug addicts in the country. Historians say that 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis under Hitler before and during World War II.
Duterte has said that his public death threats against drug suspects are designed to scare them into stop selling illegal drugs and to discourage would-be users. Such scare tactics, he has said, are legal. But his remarks Friday took that crime-busting approach to a different level.
During the presidential election campaign earlier this year and during the three months he had held office, the tough-talking Duterte has threatened to drown drug suspects to fatten the fish in Manila Bay. He also threatened to execute drug traffickers by hanging — because he didn’t want to waste electricity on them — until their heads were severed from their bodies.
While Hitler victims were innocent people, Duterte said his targets are “all criminals” and that getting rid of them would “finish the (drug) problem of my country.”