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Rody: You can oust me if I abuse power

The Philippine Star

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – President Duterte last night challenged his critics to oust him from office for abuse of power. “If I abuse, then you can oust me,” Duterte said as he parried anew criticisms on his campaign against illegal drugs.

“If I get assassinated or get ousted, it’s my destiny,” the President told the gathering of policewomen at the summit on women and community police service held here at the Apo View Hotel. 

Or if he commits suicide, Duterte joked. “I might be the first president to commit suicide.”

More than 3,000 people have died in his unprecedented crackdown on illegal drugs, drawing widespread international condemnation over an apparent wave of extrajudicial killings.

Critics are alarmed at the sheer number whose deaths have been attributed to vigilantes, with Duterte’s apparent support or tacit consent.

Duterte said he has no intention of clinging to power, saying once again he is willing to risk his life, his honor and the presidency for love of country.

Besides, Duterte said he is not after the power that many people think is enshrined in Malacañang.

“Malacañang Palace is all glamor. I am not after it,” he said.

In the same gathering, Duterte bared another narco-list but only mentioned Judge Hector Salise, who was recently ambushed.

Duterte said Salise was into fixing or bungling of drug cases. Salise is still recuperating from bullet wounds in his head and shoulder.

Duterte also exhorted the police and military to talk among themselves if the country is in a better or worse situation since he became president.

Having served for 14 years as prosecutor and another 23 years as mayor of Davao City, Duterte said he is the most experienced in dealing with police.

“The Philippines is very lucky that I won because it’s only me who can handle the police,” Duterte said.

“How many presidents have come and go and this (illegal drugs) problem in our country persisted,” he said.

Duterte used the occasion to lecture the policewomen on the difference between an arrest with warrant and warrantless arrest.

He said he used to lecture at the local police academy here in Davao City right after he passed the Bar in 1972.

“But all I ask of you is just do your job and rest assured I will be there for you,” Duterte said.

He added that he would make sure that by early next year, the policemen and military personnel would receive double their existing salaries.

In the same occasion, Duterte raffled off three Glock 30 pistols for the policewomen and announced the grant of P2,000 per diem for each of them for attending the summit. 

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Duterte admitted being brash and brutally frank, which is the reason many people want to take “selfies” with him.

“Because I am the only one who can do the bull-s**tting to anyone, including the big bullies like the United States,” Duterte told the crowd upon his arrival from Vietnam.

He criticized the “hypocrisy” of the US and the European Union in accusing him of human rights abuses in his anti-drug campaign.

Duterte said he doesn’t care what people think of his mouth and what he says as long as he knows that he is doing his best to serve the country and the people. 

And in all his visits to the different military camps and police headquarters all over the country, Duterte said he always allows requests of the soldiers and policemen for a group picture and, at times, selfies with him, with everyone doing his trademark closed fist salute.

Even dignitaries and diplomatic visitors in Malacañang almost always ask him for selfies.

Duterte, however, warned civil servants against corruption.

“You had your fill, tama na (enough),” he said as he reminded his new appointees not to follow the crooked practices of the past.

Duterte said he has heard of billionaires wanting to invest in the country but are wary of the corrupt practices of some government officials.

“I’m warning those in the government, I promised the people (a clean government.) Wag nyo akong hiyain (Don’t put me to shame). Do not commit the mistake or I will read your name in public and I will ask you to resign,” Duterte said.

He asked state workers not contented with their salaries to resign and look for higher paying jobs instead of resorting to “milking the government.”

In his fight against corruption, Duterte said he has already lost two personal friends whose requests for favors he had turned down.

“I don’t give a d**n. If I lost a friend, fine, this (country) is not my property, this is not my hacienda,” the President stressed.

Duterte did not name the two but hinted their request had something to do with rice importation.

The President lamented anew what he noted were lapses by the media in reporting his extemporaneous speeches. He cited as example his reported cussing at US President Obama that was misreported by the international media. 

Duterte also rued the media for misquoting him that he wanted the US out of the Philippines when he specifically said he wanted the Americans out of Mindanao, lest they be exposed to kidnapping by the Abu Sayyaf. –With Giovanni Nilles

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