MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – A tourist literally got a taste of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s non-conventional style of law enforcement.
The Filipino tourist was forced by the mayor to swallow the butt of the cigarette he was smoking after refusing to follow Davao City’s famed smoking ban. This was according to a post Thursday, September 3, by former North Cotabato governor and former journalist Manny Piñol on a Facebook page calling for Duterte’s presidential bid.
Piñol is among Duterte’s supporters and advisers.
But Duterte’s own spokesman Peter T. Laviña said on Thursday night, the incident actually happened “a long time ago.”
Duterte was “on his way to City Hall from Sasa when he heard [from] the police about a customer who refused to put off his cigarette. He went to the place and confronted the customer who admitted saying, ‘Bakit ko itapon ang sigarilyo ko, ako ang bumili nito at hindi si Duterte?’” Laviña recalled. (Why should I throw my cigarette when I was the one, and not Duterte, who bought it?)
Laviña also said, “It was at this point sinabihan siya ni Mayor, ‘Gago ka pala, bastos ka! Sige kainin mo ang sinabi mo at kainin mo ang sigarilyo mo.’ Ipinakain talaga, but he never pointed a revolver [at] anyone, as far as I know. It is not the attitude of the mayor,” Laviña told Rappler.
(It was at this point that the Mayor told him, “You’re a fool, you’re rude! Go and eat your words and eat your cigarette.” He really made him eat it, but he never pointed a revolver [at] anyone, as far as I know. It is not the attitude of the mayor.)
Piñol’s version however said that when Duterte arrived at the restaurant, he sat beside the tourist and “pulled out a snub-nosed .38 revolver and poked it at the man’s crotch.”
The mayor then allegedly told the smoker: “Papiliin kita: barilin ko ang bayag mo, i-preso kita, o kainin mo ang upos ng sigarilyo mo (I’ll give you these choices: I’ll shoot your balls, send you to jail, or you eat your cigarette butt).”
To these the smoker could only muster a measly “Sorry Mayor” before picking up the cigarette butt and swallowing it, wrote Piñol.
Piñol said it was the restaurant owner – who also knew Duterte – who informed the tourist of the anti-smoking ordinance in the city which prohibits smoking in public places.
The owner supposedly asked the police to inform Duterte of the tourist’s transgression.
Dare to challenge the law?
Before leaving the restaurant, witnesses heard Duterte tell the smoker, “Never ever challenge the law.”
Duterte has earned adulation for his hands-on leadership style that many say helped turn Davao City into one of the safest in the country.
Surveys tag him as a popular choice for president in the lead-up to the 2016 national elections. In a May 8-18, 2015 survey done by Laylo Research Strategies, Duterte and former president Joseph Estrada were tied at 3rd place with their national rating of 10%.
Though Duterte is yet to declare his presidential bid and although he has been sending mixed signals about his real intentions for 2016, he has been going around the country explaining his would-be platform and all-out support for federalism in the Philippines.
– Pia Ranada/Rappler.com