MANILA, Philippines – “Try me,” said Rodrigo Duterte in response to an allegation from administration bet Manuel “Mar” Roxas II that his campaign promise to suppress crime and drugs in 3 to 6 months is just “pambobola” (a trick).
“Takot kang pumatay? Takot kang mamatay? Subukan mo ako. Maghawak ka ng shabu sa harap ko, pasasabugin ko ‘yang ulo mo,” he was quoted by his camp as saying on Thursday, April 7.
(Are you afraid to kill? Are you afraid to die? Try me. Hold shabu in front of me, I will make your head explode.)
Roxas had said a day before, “Lahat ng eksperto na nakakaalam sa krimen, nagsasabing imposible ito (All the experts on crime say this is impossible).”
Duterte has always maintained that a tough leader must be able to kill, if necessary, to protect citizens. In his years as mayor, Davao City was infested with armed groups and was bombed several times. (READ: Duterte on how to fight crime: ‘It has to be bloody’)
The Mindanaoan bet has made his anti-crime promise one of the central tenets of his platform. He said he has Davao City to prove he can give the promise a shot.
He joked,“E kung patayin ko ‘yan lahat sa isang araw, anong pakialam mo? Ginawa ko na yan noon e ‘di gagawin ko uli.”
(What if I kill them all in one day, what is it to you? I did it before, I can do it again.)
Duterte has previously boasted that he has killed 100,000 criminals in his 22 years as Davao City mayor. But when he turns serious in his speeches, he says he has only ordered the shooting of criminals who resisted arrest and posed a threat to the lives of police.
He has also denied involvement in any cases of extrajudicial killings saying “there is no honor in it.”
But that doesn’t stop his tough-talking which has earned him both adulation and disgust.
“Pagka kriminal ka, magrape ka ng bata (If you are a criminal, if you rape a child), I will hunt you like a dog and I will kill you. Bakit kita bubuhayin (Why would I let you live)?” he said.
Duterte explains crime in Davao
Duterte also responded to Roxas’ belittling his achievements in Davao City.
The Liberal Party standard-bearer said that far from being the safest city in the country, Davao City has the 4th highest number of crime incidents in the country.
Duterte explained that these statistics are high because they include minor violations like smoking in public. Davao City is among the few cities with an anti-smoking ordinance.
The high number of crime incidents may also be because of the efficiency of Davao City’s renowned 911 Emergency Response Center, he said. More crimes are reported because the center makes it easy for citizens to report via mobile phone.
Duterte is a frontrunner in a recent The Standard Poll while Roxas is lagging behind at 3rd place. – Pia Ranada/Rappler.com