Duterte emphasizes nationality, deadline for fighting crime

Pia Ranada
By emphasizing his being a native of the Philippines during his closing speech, was Duterte reminding the audience of Poe's citizenship issues?

IN CLOSING. Duterte emphasizes his being a native of the Philippines in his closing speech during the Cagayan de Oro presidential debate on February 21, 2016. Photo courtesy of Comelec EID

MANILA, Philippines – Rodrigo Duterte appeared to take a swipe at Grace Poe during his closing statement at the Cagayan de Oro presidential debate on Sunday, February 21.

“I am here because I love my country and I love the people of the Philippines. I am a native of the Philippines,” the Mindanaoan presidential bet began.

The statement seems a reminder of the disqualification cases against Grace Poe over her status as a natural-born Filipino – one of the requirements for presidential candidates.

The possibility of Poe winning these cases and becoming president was what convinced Duterte he should gun for the presidency. He had said then that he didn’t want to have an “American president” in Malacañang.

Duterte spent the rest of his closing speech emphasizing his crime- and economy-focused platform.

He said the 3- to 6-month deadline he has set for himself is a restriction meant to ensure he keeps his promises. 

“This is an imposed restriction from me, hindi ako nagpapabilib sa inyo (I am not asking you to believe me). I will get rid of drugs, suppress crime, stop corruption in a matter of 3 to 6 months because I believe that without peace, without getting rid of corruption, we cannot really survive,” he said.

Read his entire closing speech below:

Why am I here? I am here because I love my country and I love the people of the Philippines. I am a native of the Philippines. There’s so much corruption and crime and too much drugs flooding the country and nobody is minding this truth. Every time before a forum, we talk about this, we talk about that. Eh kung bigyan niyo ako ng pagkakataon (If you give me the chance), only if God wills it also, I will stop it I said. This is an imposed restriction from me, hindi ako nagpapabilib sa inyo (I am not asking you to believe me), I will get rid of drugs, suppress crime, stop corruption in a matter of 3 to 6 months because I believe that without peace, without getting rid of corruption, we cannot really survive. 

The debate – the first in a series being mounted by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and its media partners – was organized by GMA-7 and the Philippine Daily Inquirer. – Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.