Duterte interrupted: After fly and roach, it's gecko's turn

MANILA, Philippines – After stopping in the middle of previous speeches because of a cockroach and then a fly, President Rodrigo Duterte had to contend with a loud gecko as he delivered his message at a military camp in Capiz on Thursday, September 19.

Some 30 minutes into his speech at the decommissioning of arms and forces of a communist rebel group, a gecko or tuko began croaking in the background.

At the time, Duterte was deep into his familiar lecture on the evils of drugs and his complaints about human rights activists critical of his bloody crackdown.

"Sa panahon ni Duterte nagkaletse-letse ang bayan dahil sa droga? Huwag sa panahon ko. Not during my time. Huwag mong gawin. Talagang totodasin kita. Human rights?" he said before the gecko chimed in.

(During Duterte's time the country went downhill because of drugs? Not in my time. Don't do it. I will really target you. Human rights?)

The audience began to laugh. Duterte could not ignore the gecko either.

He turned his head to officials onstage with him. 

"This pet gecko of yours, you brought it here? Fool," he said. 

Only two months ago, in July, Duterte stopped his speech when a fly buzzed toward his face. Because he had been ranting about Catholic Church teachings at the time, the President blamed priests for the fly's presence.

In May, a cockroach landed on his shoulder as he was endorsing his senatorial candidates. After an aide swatted it away, Duterte said the cockroach must have been sent by the opposition.

Duterte was in Capiz on Thursday to witness the decommissioning of arms and forces of a communist rebel faction group, the 727 Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa-Pilipinas - Revolutionary Proletarian Army - Alex Boncayao Brigade - Tabara-Paduano Group.

Over 300 firearms of the group were decommissioned during the ceremony at Camp General Macario B Peralta.

Members of the group were also given welfare packages and other assistance from various government agencies.

In his speech, Duterte promised to protect the former rebels should their security be threatened by active New People's Army members.

He even said he would given them new guns to protect themselves and help protect the government.

"You are part of government. Magkasama na tayo ngayon (We are together now). Kung ipitin kayo ng komunista (If the communists come for you) and they will give you trouble, I will give you a new firearm. Mas maganda pa dito (Even nicer than these)," said the President. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.