In this file photo from May 2018, workers arrange ballot boxes in front of the Las Piñas city hall. The Philippines will elect local and national leaders in May 2019.
Edd Gumban
Duterte tells candidates: Do not terrorize the people
Alexis Romero ( - December 10, 2018 - 8:12pm

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday warned candidates in next year's polls not to "terrorize" voters, saying he would deal with them personally if they try to impose their will on the public. 

Duterte said candidates should let Filipinos vote freely, saying the "will of the people is the will of God." 

"Whether you are from the government, whether you belong to my party or you are my rival in politics, do not terrorize, do not intimidate, do not create fear in the voters. I will be frank with you from Jolo to Abra," the president said during the turnover of housing units in San Miguel, Bulacan for military and police personnel.

"Pag ginawa ninyo ‘yan ako mismo ang pupunta doon at ako mismo mag-aresto sa iyo at ako mismo ang maghila sa iyo. Talian kita sa leeg doon sa ligid ng eroplano," he added. 

(If you do that, I will go and arrest you myself. I will drag you and tie your neck to the wheel of an airplane.)

In October, Philippine National Police Director General Oscar Albayalde said special operations tasks groups will monitor developments in 7,926 barangays and 896 municipalities identified as areas of concern in response to incidents of election-related violence months before the polls.

He said then that the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao has the most number of election hotspots, followed by Eastern and Central Visayas.

'Respect voters' choice'

Duterte said candidates should respect the choice of voters even if they voted for someone who "acts like a dog." 

"You might not like him but if it’s a free will, it’s the choice of the people, do not mess it up," the president said. 

Duterte also reminded government troops to remain nonpartisan during the midterm polls. 

"I would like to remind everybody in government, everybody, especially the Armed Forces and the police: Do not take sides. Either for or against my party, do not interfere. Do not join campaigns and do not favor any candidate, whatsoever. That is the mandate of the Constitution and we will stick by it," Duterte said.

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