‘What if there is no God?’ Duterte promotes death penalty as certain means of serving justice

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. © Ted Aljibe
The Philippines’ president said that growing influence of atheism and agnosticism leads to people disrespecting laws and committing heinous crimes. And “if there is no God,” capital punishment is the only way to make sure justice is served.

President Rodrigo Duterte has condoned the restoration of the death penalty in the Philippines “because the fear is not there” anymore. According to him, the previous presidents had given in to the pressure of the “bleeding hearts” and the Catholic Church who had been against the death penalty “because only God can kill”.

“The problem with that is, I ask you, ‘what if there is no God?’” Duterte said to reporters at the presidential palace in Manila.

“When a one-year-old, an 18-month-old baby is taken from the mother’s arms, brought under a Jeep and raped, and killed, where is God? And in Syria women and children, who don’t want to have sex with ISIS, they are burned. So where’s God? My God, where are you?” he addressed the creator directly.

Previously, Duterte promised to personally deal with Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) jihadists by eating them alive in public.

Duterte professed that he personally believes in God, though existence of God have been a “perpetual question” for him, seeing “heartaches, sorrows and agony.” According to the Philippines’ president, the state needs a mean to punish wrongdoers, without a need to wait for “the end of the world, when he [God] will judge the living and the dead”, since growing atheism and agnosticism mean people lack fear and do not respect the law.

“That is why, I said give me back the death penalty,” concluded the president, saying he has “always been a hardliner when it comes to the penal laws.”

On Friday Duterte made a similar comment, while giving a speech to police officers about illegal drugs and a set of rules to deal with drug criminals.

“Maybe God doesn’t want all these killings. But never mind, God is not my enemy. I’ll talk to him when I get there,” said Duterte to the officers. “I'll ask him, 'If you are really God, you didn't do anything, and the Filipinos are going crazy.'”

During the election campaign, Duterte promised to re-establish capital punishment as part of an ongoing ‘war on drugs’. Since he took office in the end of June, some 3,500 people have been killed during ‘the war’, while more than 600,000 people reportedly turned themselves in.

President Duterte is well-known for his harsh comments littered with profanities against world leaders. He ha been facing criticism for his bloody war on drugs recently and responded to it in a rather questionable manner.

The Philippines president called his US counterpart Barack Obama “son of a b**ch,” earlier this month after hearing that the latter was to address the country’s ‘war on drugs’. The outburst led to the cancellation of scheduled talks between the two leaders. Later, Duterte stated that his comment had not been directed towards Obama, while doing that he somewhat managed to redirect the insult to the UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, calling him “a fool”.

Last week Duterte invited Ban Ki-moon and EU officials to investigate the methods of the nationwide drug crackdown. He managed, however, to insult the UN Secretary-General once more in process.

READ MORE: Duterte calls out ‘devil’ Ban Ki-moon & EU in latest tirade

“I am inviting the United Nations’ Ban Ki ... what's the name of that devil? ... Ban Ki-moon,” Reuters quoted Duterte as saying.