Duterte: Running a democratic country not an easy task
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Leading the Philippines in the midst of a drug crisis and rebellion is a tough act, said President Rodrigo Duterte, who blamed democracy as a factor upping the challenge.
"This is democracy and that is the reason why we are pretty hard up. It is not easy to run [a country] where a citizen has so many rights," Duterte said on Thursday, March 1.
The President made this statement at the opening ceremony of the National SWAT Challenge in Davao City where he was guest of honor. He was speaking before elite personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and officials of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Since the Philippines is a democratic state, he said, a citizen is given "so many" rights which are being taken advantage of by terrorists.
"That is the reason why the terrorist is determined. [So] for the same reason we will not hesitate and we will not be afraid to kill," he said.
Duterte's remarks came more than a week after a United States intelligence report called the Philippine leader a "regional threat" in Southeast Asia.
The US report placed Duterte among the likes of Cambodian leader Hun Sen, described as repressing democratic institutions.
In response, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said Duterte is not a threat to democracy, but rather a threat to criminals, drug lords, and corrupt government officials.
For the 32nd anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution last Sunday, February 25, Duterte had called on Filipinos to "enrich" democracy by defending citizens' rights and strengthening institutions.