Duterte to voters: ‘I’m your last card’

Rhadyz B. Barcia
Duterte to voters: ‘I’m your last card’
'I am your last card in the Philippines, if you don’t want a corrupt future president and a weakling,' Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte tells a crowd in Legazpi City

LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – Presidential candidate Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said on Friday, March 4, that he is the country’s last card to heal generations of “fractured Filipinos.”

In seeking voters’ support in vote-rice Albay, Duterte took potshots at his two leading rivals, based on the latest poll on presidential contenders released that day.

“What do you want to happen in this country? I don’t agree with the NPA armed struggle and the BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law). I am your last card in the Philippines, if you don’t want a corrupt future president and a weakling,” he said at a news conference at the Legazpi City domestic airport.

Duterte was apparently referring to Vice President Jejomar Binay, who is hounded by corruption allegations, and poll front runner Senator Grace Poe, who is being slammed by other contenders for her inexperience.

The Poe and Binay are statistically tied for top spot in the Pulse Asia survey conducted in the second half of February with voter preference rating of 26% and 25%, respectively. Duterte and administration standard-bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas II are tied for third place at 21%.

End drug menace, ask help from China

The Davao official promised to become the Philippines’ first Lee Kuan Yew-type president, determined to end the drugs menace even if he has to “kill” those who are infected by it.

“We have produced a fractured generation of Filipinos because of drugs. Shabu shrinks the brain of the persons who used it, therefore rehabilitation is no longer our option but to kill it. Even my sons, if they commit or use drugs, I will kill them,” Duterte said.     

He reiterated that he would take “full responsibility” for authorities who kill in the line of duty, should they face investigation. (READ: Duterte: I’ll pardon cops who kill crimimals, civilians in line of duty)

“If, I’m elected into the presidency, I will order the PNP and AFP to wipe out drugs and kill those carrying it. I will take full responsibility if investigating body will go after you,” he said.

On the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) dispute, Duterte said he “would rather ask China to help us build train services in Manila to Bicol and Mindanao rather than to fight China.”

He earlier said he was open to a joint exploration with China in the disputed area under his presidency, even as the Philippines has a pending case against China before the United Nations-backed international arbitral tribunal in The Hague, the Netherlands. (READ: Philippines: China to build ‘Berlin Wall of the Sea’)

‘Speedy trial’

Although the judiciary is a separate co-equal branch of government, Duterte said if he heads the executive department, he would “impose” speedy trials for accused criminals.

“I will also impose speedy trial for every accused of crime as every criminal or person put behind bars has the right to speedy trial like in the case of president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo who was put behind bars for 4 years now without result,” Duterte said.

In February, Duterte told Pampanga voters that he would release Arroyo, their fellow Kapampangan if he is elected president as he believes the evidence against her is weak. Arroyo is facing plunder charges for alleged misuse of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office funds when she was chief executive.

Duterte made a similar vow to Cavite voters in January, concerning one of their own – detained senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr, who is facing plunder charges in connection with the pork barrel scam. Though plunder is a non-bailable offense, he said he would “see to it” that Revilla is at least granted bail.

Duterte who was with his running mate, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, also addressed the first-ever joint meeting of the Provincial Development Full Council and the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council organized by the Albay government.

Albay Governor Joey Salceda, a member of the ruling Liberal Party, welcomed the tandem at the Oriental Hotel, further fanning speculation that he was bolting the ruling party, just as he had done in 2010. (READ: LP’s Salceda will be my NEDA chief – Duterte) – Rappler.com

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