MANILA, Philippines – Saying he has been “humbled” by the toll of the coronavirus outbreak, President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, May 4, delivered a rare apology for lashing out at business tycoons in the past.
The President apologized in particular to the Ayala group and businessman Manuel V Pangilinan (MVP), with whom he had feuded for months over supposedly “onerous” provisions in government water contracts which were still up for negotiation.
“There may be legal issues but I’m ready to talk and I’ll be reasonable. ‘Yung mga masakit kong (My hurtful) talk to Ayalas and Pangilinan, I apologize for the hurting words. If you can find it in your heart to forgive me,” Duterte said as he joked he would “undercut to God” should the businessmen refuse to accept his apology.
Duterte made the peace overture during a late night address on the government’s coronavirus response, where he thanked big business for contributing crucial resources to combat the outbreak.
Before issuing an apology to the Ayalas and MVP, Duterte likewise thanked big business for their assistance and appealed to them to understand that his tirades were part of “governance” and his “sworn duty” in government.
“But if you can just forget it for the moment, I’d like to thank your from the bottom of my heart for helping us provide the necessities of the moment. I can promise you, I’ll be nice and if you want to see me, we can talk. Naubos na po pagkasuplado ko dahil sa COVID (My arrogance has run out because of COVID),” Duterte said.
The firebrand President said he was “humbled” by the outbreak and the response of big business groups which have so far been involved in nearly all aspects of the government’s response, from putting up national quarantine centers, ramping up testing, to providing crucial services in logistics, among others.
Aside from the Ayalas and MVP, Duterte had delivered curse-laden speeches involving other businessmen such as Roberto Ongpin, the Lopezes, Prietos, and Lucio Tan. (Look back: Duterte’s tussles with big business) – Rappler.com