(Note from MindaNews: This is the official transcript of Rappler’s interview with President Rodrigo Duterte, released by the Presidential News Desk of the Presidential Communications Office)
Presidential Communications Office
Presidential News Desk
PRESIDENT RODRIGO ROA DUTERTE
[Malacañan Palace | 29 December 2016]
Maria Ressa: Mr. President, thank you so much for speaking with us again.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Maria, again, thank you for your time.
Ms. Ressa: You mentioned a year ago that you would declare war on three things: on corruption; war against crime, drugs; and then the third is war against government bureaucracy, government ineptitude, right?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Correct.
Ms. Ressa: It’s been almost seven months, six months into as… Now that you’re President, what are you most proud of in the time–?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Well, those are the three basic fundamentals that I promised to do if elected as President. But we’re doing well in the matter of the first promise that I would, maybe, minimize or stamp out corruption totally.
I think that we’re making a headway, progress. If you go to the airport now, it’s not as disturbing and as stressful as in the past.
Nobody is asking money from you. But those are those of the first impressions. But ‘yung, those small things about making follow-ups, land title nila, that office is also famous corruption. Walang papel, walang ano, walang panahon.
And most of the time in Davao City, even, nag-retire na ‘yung iba, you are not in your offices and most of the time, or worse nasa labas at you are into… Pumapasok pa ng mga casino even during daytime. You do not do this under me. Do not do it. You’d end up not only losing your pants, you will lose your job, and maybe a total humiliation.
Kasi ‘pag ka, ‘pag ka ipinahiya mo… Ayaw kong mapahiya eh kasi those are sacred things, that is a covenant between the people and the President. Ayaw kong mapahiya.
So hiyain mo ako, it’s either mapuntahan kita or I said, Filipinos should learn to be assertive. Huwag kayong matakot magsabi, “Hindi ako bibigay sa inyo,” sabi ni Duterte.
Now this time, may minention (mention) ka na pangalan. Noon kasi sabi ko, ayaw ko magbigay, kasi wala akong pera. Pauto-uto kayo and you’re being oppressed. But nobody was taking notice of it but those are things, small things in government activity that creates a bigger, almost hanggang malaki na. It develops something like a virulent typhoon.
So these are the things, small things, taxi drivers, ‘yung Uber pati ‘yung Grab, you do it right beginning today or kayong mga sakay kunin niyo ‘yung body number, kunin niyo, because I will now require every public utility vehicle to have their — ‘yung driver IDs placed at the back of the front seat para makita ng pasahero and you know guys na binibira ko itong mga drug addict whatever that’s important, pangalan.
And if you fall into, ditong mga predators, prey — you’re a prey of something, minolestiya kayo, huwag kayong pumunta sa LTFRB. Those agencies or bodies have nothing to do with law and order.
Well, order in the sense, there has to be order in government but disciplining or forcing people to obey, not to commit crimes, not being criminals, you report directly to the police and the police will have to act on it.
Then we will, the police shall now look for the driver, arrest him, and bring him to the station, detain him for investigation. ‘Pag ka nagka-areglo, if it’s a minor one, and they want to, maybe kalimutan na lang, okay lang.
But for the…Iyong mga rape, mga ano, no deal ka diyan because that’s a public crime. So it has to be reported and then prosecuted.
Now for the driver na shortchanged, the law says that hanggang every kilometer ‘yan lang ang patak mo. So you’re only entitled, for example, from the airport to a place in Parañaque which is very near, maybe you’d get to pay something like, 30, 50.
But if you are charged more than that, the usual counts registered sa meter, you get the number, I said, it will be easy now because I would require everybody to use it, must do it ‘yan, must do it.
So you can report, report to the police because that is estafa. That is a crime, swindling ‘yan eh. Do not report to the LTFRB for revocation, that’s the second relief.
The first relief is to put the guy into prison for something stupid and being… Ayoko ng oppression eh.
Ms. Ressa: But Mr. President, these would be the concerns of mayor, right. Essentially, this is something you’ve done–
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Yes, in Davao.
Ms. Ressa: So how now that you are President. What’s the change from mayor to President? What surprised you? How are you changing? What are you gonna do?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Well, ganito kasi, Maria. You know I thought all the while, in my, I was also very parochial then. I was just mayor. It was not really an — something that is terribly wrong, but I miscalculated everything.
Ms. Ressa: Iba ho ‘yung —
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Davao is a peaceful place. Walang police doon na humihingi, walang checkpoint na… If there is one, ganyan kaagad. It’s either sipa, sampal or ipakulong ko.
Behave kami doon because we respect each other’s lives. The problem in this world today, including the criminals, tayo, we do not respect each other’s rights. Maghingi kayo. You do not bother to think that this poor guy, eh kung si… Mayaman, may karapatan ‘yan eh. And we should respect it because… Kagaya kami, kaming mga mayor noon, magpunta kami sa labas, pagdating namin, iilan dalang mga asawa, ilang bagahe diyan, they’re just swinging by and they…
But for this poor girl from Hong Kong also, kasabay ko, ‘yung TV maliit para sa pamilya niya. When I was mayor, she was last to ano, kasi she was haggling and everybody was out, tinitingnan ko lang, kaya sinabi ko sa Custom, ‘P***** i** naman adre, ‘yan ba naman…’
I’m not quite adept with the — ‘yan ba naman anuhin mo pa, ‘yung… You scrape the barrel of…Iyon mga ganon.
So those are the things that would hurt me. Iyong mga mayayaman, magbigay man lang ‘yan ng 5,000, lusot ka; and that’s corruption.
You better stop it because I said, first whiff, malaman ko ‘yan. Alam ho ninyo, there are millions and millions of Filipinos very well-educated, fresh from college, full of idealism, wants to work, ‘yung mga pulis, huwag ka, hindi ako…
I will not have second thoughts of firing you. Maraming Pilipino na walang trabaho naghihintay na papalit sa inyo, l***** kayo. Naasar tuloy ako sa inyo.
Ms. Ressa: Mr. President, a man of contradictions again. You support the police and then you’re also willing to punish the police now.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Yeah, if you do your duty. Kagaya nitong ano: Go out and hunt for them. Arrest them if it’s still possible. But if they present a violent resistance, placing your life in jeopardy, or pati ikaw mamatay, p******* i** mo, patayin mo na ‘yan, dahil papatayin ka talaga niyan.
Because most of the drug people have shrunk brains already. That is why about four million now, kasi four million na-kumpleto ko. I was able to get the four million to add to the previous number of General Santiago—
Ms. Ressa: Pero iba ho ‘yung numbers ng Dangerous Drugs Board, Dangerous Drugs Boards has only 1.8 million… And then you said, originally, three million, and then it’s four million, where are the facts?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Because hindi naman lahat nire-report. And they do not do an intelligence activity.
Ms. Ressa: Will you release those numbers?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Just a board, it’s a policy eh. Ganito ‘yan eh. Iyong, ‘yung… When we get this… This is the drug industry of the Philippines. Ito ‘yung—
Ms. Ressa: Can I have it? Sa akin na ho? Sorry ho, sir.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Iyang mga dito, ‘yung may mga ”X”, huwag mo na lang pansinin ‘yan. May mga generals pa diyan.
Ito ang mabigat na problema ko. There are about 6,000 policemen, barangay captains, city mayors, governors.
Ms. Ressa: But, Mr. President, what people are afraid of…So, first is the threat, right? You’re saying and this is something you’ve said from a year ago, from more than a year ago, you say that drugs has the protection of the police, has the protection of government officials and it goes all the way and you wanna rip it out, but is this all verified? Have you, do we know–?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: No, because we do intelligence. I am not building a case to convict you beyond reasonable doubt. That is beyond the realm of — ano na ‘yan.
Ms. Ressa: Yes, Mr. President.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: I can give you only a prima facie case. For example, dito bilihan ko itong drug lord na ito, bili ako ngayon. Tapos sige ulitin ninyo, bili ako, tapos bili ako ulit. Then I try to arrest him, lalaban ka pa. Eh di talagang papatayin kita. May galit na ako sa iyo eh.
Ms. Ressa: But, sir.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: That is the prima facie.
Ms. Ressa: So, the problem though, sir, is what happens if they were wrong or somebody who didn’t like them or who did them to whoever made the arrest?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Would you believe it? I have about -00 margin of error, ‘yung margin of error.
Ms. Ressa: I would love to get a copy of all these.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Those are what I would call — or we made the miscalculations. There are always miscalculations.
Ms. Ressa: Yes, sir.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Now, remember, since it’s so widespread that when I got hold of those things, which was not available to me when I was mayor…
Ms. Ressa: Yes.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: …then I started to squeeze now. That’s the visual drug industry of the Philippines. So sabi ko, I am not going to order a police punitive action. Baryo-baryo lang tayo dito. Sabi ko, I’m declaring war. And I said: Do not destroy my country and do not destroy our young because I will kill you. But it doesn’t mean to say na killing na mag-utos ako, kill the guy even if he is kneeling down with his hands tied behind his back.
Ms. Ressa: Yes.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Because itong mga pulis pati itong — they graduate itong mga official from the PMA, mga PNPA, hindi mo mautusan ito ng illegal, unless kung sila mismo ang nandiyan.
Ms. Ressa: Correct.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Because they are only told. Babalik-balik ‘yan. Anyway, I was a professor sa police academy.
Ms. Ressa: Yes, sir.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Hindi ba, sa…It’s only when it is lawful to do it.
Ms. Ressa: After 21 years of Ferdinand Marcos, it took almost a decade to bring human rights back into the police and the military, right? It took that long. Now, that you’ve opened this Pandora’s box and you’ve essentially said, “Go ahead and kill.” And it could be these people but it could be innocent people. How are you going to control and make sure that the police aren’t killing people who — aren’t killing the wrong people? ‘Coz you kill and you won’t make a mistake like that…
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: In the first place, the police should know who is the person he is arresting. So you must have at least the probable cause. The probable cause is that is he a criminal? If he is, is he the one who might have committed a crime?
Walang pulis magsabi, “I have to look for a proof, proof beyond reasonable doubt.” That’s impossible. We cannot move on in this world.
Ms. Ressa: I understand, I understand. Intelligence in…
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Ang ayaw ko diyan if you do it for personal reasons. Because kung pulis ka tapos ginawa mong ganun, may sindikato.
Ms. Ressa: Kung corrupt ka.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Tapos palabas…Iyan ang ayaw ko. Sa Davao, maraming nadisgrasya diyan. Iyong ipalabas mo ‘yung kalaban mo na nasa droga ‘yan siya, intrigahan mo ako. And I have a way of checking out. This time kasi meron akong NICA, meron akong ISAFP, meron akong military intelligence, may MIG ako. So if it’s a report coming from the police, it goes to the Army; ang Army naman goes to the police. And ito namang NICA goes to the MIG and the MIG goes to…They will check.
If I am not…For example, the last time I was talking about it then I said, I wanted to validate three more times. Tapos hindi talaga ako kuntento and I said this is the fourth time that they have validated this report. Iyong DILG minsan, local government because they have the — they have connections because they are there on the ground.
Ms. Ressa: Yes.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Ngayon, kung sabihin mo na personal. Ito, Ressa, this is just my personal…This is not for everybody’s consumption. You might want to hear it.
Ako ang tatay. Hirap ako sa buhay. Wala namang mayaman dito sa atin nitong kwartong ito otherwise hindi tayo magta-trabaho ng ganito. Tapos, paaralin ko ‘yung anak ko. Tapos ‘yung barangay malayo, magsakay pa ng tricycle. Tapos she is waylaid, rape, patayin. Ako ang tatay, anong tingin mo ang gawain ko?
Ito ngayon, there is war against drugs. Tapos alam ko in the neighborhood kung sino kayo. And then I remember my daughter raped and killed, what do you think will I do to you?
Ms. Ressa: This is why you were elected, right? You feel what you are going through, right? But violence, and you say this, you know, violence is okay, violence is your strength [overlapping voices]…But let me ask you is violence, actually we talked about this a year ago, is violence necessary? You use violence in language, you use violence…
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Unfortunately, yes.
Ms. Ressa: Is it necessary to lead?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: There is a need because there’s a war. And with that kind of problem in my hands now, I tell you, Maria, until I see the last pusher is out of the street, until the last drug lord is killed, this campaign will continue to the very last day of my term.
Ms. Ressa: Is it important that people be afraid of you?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Yes, iyan ang na-realize ko. Because they…Parang akong Machiavelli. Alam mo kasi…Bakit sa Davao? Iyong mag-parking, gusto nilang mag-parking diyan. Sinabi, ‘wala man ditong pulis.’ Hindi ka makakasabi, ‘wala man dito si mayor.’ Talagang no-parking ‘yan kasi takot. Kasi ‘pag nakita nila, mag-park ka sa no parking sign. Basahin mo uli, stand there and read it a thousand times, “no parking, no parking,” sige.
Firecrackers. ‘Pag sabi, “Ano ‘yang si Duterte, pera ba niya itong sinusunog namin?” Lapitan ko siya, may ibinulong ako sa kanya. Iyong ginawa ko na hindi maganda. O kita mo, eh ‘di sunod lahat. Eh kung ganito sa Pilipinas, tao por tao, abutan ako ng siyam-siyam. And to think that I only have six years to keep up with my promises. No, I am a man of honor whether it is really bad or good for you, negative or what, I am a man of my word. ‘Pag ka sinabi ko tumabi ka dahil papatayin kita, tumabi ka. Ngayon, ‘pag nagkamali eh ‘di sorry. Pero do not give us an inkling o magsuspetsiya ako sa’yo.
Ms. Ressa: But, Mr. President, as President, you now also defend the Constitution.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Yes.
Ms. Ressa: And so again, this is a contradiction from our last interview. You break the law, you threatened to break the law, you said you had killed. A year ago, you told me that. And yet, you now have the task of keeping the rule of law and you said you would do that also. How do you…
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Because the rule of law, there must be fear. The problem with the law is…Alam mo kasi ‘yung batas…Ganito, bakit ngayon kay Duterte marami nang namamatay, samantalang wala namang namamatay noon? Because noon, nandiyan, may mga generals na mga…Then they have bodyguards, dalawang Army, dalawang pulis, they are armed.
Ms. Ressa: It was a different order.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Sino ba naman ang g**** pulis na maglapit na ano? Tapos hulihin mo? Kalabanin mo ‘yung mayor. Tawag ng Malakanyang ‘yan. “Mr. President, itong si ano patanggal mo ito. Mawawalan tayo ng boto dito.” May magawa kayo sa akin? Remember, I won almost on my own. Apat lang ang gobernador ko and to think wala akong isang barangay captain dito sa Maynila.
Ms. Ressa: So what are your political debts?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: None.
Ms. Ressa: None at all?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Wala ah.
Ms. Ressa: Earlier, you mentioned you have three but…Imee Marcos was one of them, do you remember?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: It was a support.
Ms. Ressa: For support.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Nagbigay ng pera pangbili ng…And ibinigay niya, sabi pagdating mo. Sabi niya, “O, sige eh ‘di magbili tayo ng ano dito empanada.”
Ms. Ressa: Yes.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Alangan naman ilagay ko pwede ba ang presyo niyan. Kung habulin ako sa COMELEC sabihin ko sa kanila, magtago pa kayo rito.
Ms. Ressa: I’m just curious because there is great hope that if you do not have these political debts that you would overturn — you would finish overturning, you would create change, right? One of the things that people, the business community is looking forward to is the tax reform? You know, will you protect anyone when it comes to the new tax reform?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: No. I must earn because I have to deliver what I promised to the people. And one thing na wala ka sa akin because…Magsabi ka ng pangalan sabihin ko kung nagtanggap ba ako ng pera.
Ms. Ressa: Sige, ho, sir.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: I only used a shoestring budget, I won the presidency. Wala masyado akong utang na loob.
Ms. Ressa: So, as mayor, you immediately paid political debts, you know. You made appointments and then if they were wrong or they were bad at what they did, you took them out immediately. Do you expect or are you planning a Cabinet revamp?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: As of this time, wala akong nakita. But if ang usapan namin diyan is, even if a small cent, no second chance tayo dito, none. Zero tolerance ako dito.
And because most of them are my friends, mga kasama ko sa dormitoryo, kasama ko sa eskwelahan, kilala nila ako at kilala ko sila. At alam nila ang ugali ko. That is one thing na maganda sa amin.
Ms. Ressa: They are not afraid of you? Or are they afraid of you?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Iyong sa klase, hindi naman.
Ms. Ressa: I guess, Mr. President, I am asking if they will tell you you’re wrong?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Ah…
Ms. Ressa: How do you protect against your weaknesses? You were one of…You are now the most powerful person and you have the supermajority, you have the supermajority in the legislator, you will appoint 12 of the Supreme Court justices.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Yeah, I will choose the best and the brightest of the Filipinos. You can be very sure of that.
Ms. Ressa: But you have so much power in the last seven months, how do protect against your own weaknesses? There is no more checks and balances.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Wala ako actually, very few. And far in between, umabot na ako sa edad na wala na. And on all accounts, very limited even ‘yung…Alam mo hindi ako mahilig sa ano. If you might have known me, you might be along with it. Kailan pa ako…Kailan mo ako nakita nagsakay ng kotse? I do not have time for all these things.
Ms. Ressa: We’ve done these stories, Mr. President. Yes, yes, you lived a simple life. I guess…
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Look at my house, almost all…Ito napunta ‘yan sa bahay. Ayaw pang maniwala. And 27 years, I’m still in that house. I can build a house, a beautiful house. At least makita lang kasi ‘yung anak ko sabi nga niya, hindi naman dilapidated sabi ko, you know I have to borrow. Dahil if I have to at this time sabi ko, I’m 72 years old. But five years from now, I’m out tapos magbayad pa ako. Sabi ko, “paglaki nila, ikaw na lang ang bahala.” Hindi ako mahilig sa…Hindi ako mahilig sa relo. Wala akong hilig — baril.
Ms. Ressa: Again, this is part of the reason you were elected, right? Because people believe this and they’ve seen your life. But again, let me go back to the question, if you were to make a mistake, do the people around you, are they afraid to tell you that you’re wrong?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: No.
Ms. Ressa: Are they afraid to challenge you?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: No, because kababata ko ‘yan. Sonny Dominguez is my — sabi ko, kababata ko ‘yan. We are neighbors until now and we grew up together. And he calls me “Duts” kasi Duterte. Maski noon pa prangkahan kami, diretsong istorya. Iyong mga brods ko, look what happened sa Immigration. I told you, then do not —huwag mo akong ano…
I know that you support me, I know that we are fraternity brothers, but I tell you, do not…I do not need to say — I won’t protect you.
Ms. Ressa: And again that’s great for us. How do you balance somebody like Sonny Dominguez in mining with Gina Lopez and her policies on mining? Mining is one of those things you are very pragmatic, right?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Gina Lopez is the Secretary of the DENR. Now, you guys are doing business. There are guidelines. She is not, I mean, inordinately crazy about powers. I mean, she says that she interprets the law because she is there. I am not the department secretary to do the interpretation to them.
When she says that this is what it says here, and you are placed there to enforce the law, I have to support you.
Ms. Ressa: And she is giving you that?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Yeah.
Ms. Ressa: Yeah, let me ask you again on political debts. I am curious about the man here, right. So many of your campaign donors were businessmen you grew up with in Davao, who know you, you know them very well. Somebody like Sammy Uy who contributed to your campaign and then he went with you to Japan and he is supposedly sat in the meeting — the one-on-one meeting with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. One, is that true? And then, two, why? And how do you draw the line between your personal political debt and the country’s concerns?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Ganito, now…I am very happy with the question. Sammy Uy is one of the billionaires now in Davao. And to think that during their high school days, doon ‘yan naggasera sa amin because they are Chinese — Cebuano but of Chinese descent. Doon ‘yan sila. Classmate ‘yan ng kapatid ko na ‘yan. He’s a Cebuano. Doon ‘yan kumakain sila sa bahay, naggagasera. They pay us, my mother. And so lumaki ‘yan nakilala ko. But he’s a very…Marami ‘yan sila but he’s a very…And he is the first return sa election tingnan mo. Way, way back in 1988, nandiyan na ‘yan ‘yung pangalan, the biggest contributor.
Ms. Ressa: You trust him, he trusts you?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: You check it. It’s all in record. Makita mo, every election nandiyan ‘yung pangalan niya. Now, Maria, noong small time pa ‘yan, mayor ako, he never made any transaction with the government. Ano ito, poultry tapos hindi…Yeah, I’ll tell you honestly, ‘yung DIMDI, malaki na masyado ‘yan, Mindanao-wide.
Ang mga supplier nila sa Japan, you know, yearly may convention ‘yan. Japan is a democracy and it is also pressure politics and money. Parang change of administration meron ‘yang mga tao na gusto rin nila. So ‘yon ang naging contact niya kasi ito ‘yung mga yumayaman na overtime. Doing business with Mitsubishi, with Honda. Iyong ano niya, ‘yung building makita mo puro refrigerators, mga puro made in Japan. He developed a contact. And whether we like it or not, he is that influential already.
Ms. Ressa: But you are the President and you had a one-on-one with the Prime Minister and you brought Sammy Uy into that meeting.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Yes, because the — ‘yung pinaka-ano ni Abe brought…It was not me that brought Sammy Uy by the way ha. You can check this out with the aide of Abe. He was already there, magkasabay ‘yan sila dito pa, a week before, magkatabi na ‘yan sila dito. So they went together and purely business. And at that first time, we do not talk kay Abe, kay Prime Minister, we talked about China and what would be the most proper thing to do under these circumstances.
Ms. Ressa: Correct.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: We’ve never talked about business. Iyong mga sa mga mining, ganun. During the bilaterals nandiyan si Abe. Kaming dalawa ni Abe, the Prime Minister, ang aming pinag-usapan is foreign policy. May drift they noticed it, and how and why, and that took us about 72 minutes, almost more than an hour. Kaming dalawa lang. And it has…You know the greatest ally now of America is Japan.
Ms. Ressa: Yes, sir.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: It’s a little bit. Bakit naman ganun? Hindi ba natin pwedeng pag-usapan ‘yan? So, you have to also see that you know, Prime Minister, I have two choices: Either I force the issue upon the proddings of America. Siguro you make an issue about it, gather a consensus; or I declare a war. Alin diyan sa dalawa?
Ms. Ressa: I listened to your other interviews on your…You have a very pragmatic take on this and it’s a different approach and so far it’s working, right? You are the man in charge again of all of this. So, I guess, in making this, this is all unchartered territory. You are actually changing the geopolitical landscape in Asia, in all of Asia. Are you afraid of anything? What makes you so certain?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Alam mo kasi, minaliit lang kasi ako. They said I have no experience sa foreign policy, foreign service. Ewan ko kung anong but…Talagang foreign service ako. Makita mo naman. Just look at the transcript. Huwag ka na lang maniwala. Look at the transcript of my school. Iyan ‘yan geopolitics, diplomacy, dalawang kurso ‘yan: consular practice and procedure diplomatic. Alam ko lahat pati ‘yung…And you must, Ressa, if I — I do not want to sound big or pull my own chair, you have to read a lot. There’s always Economic Review, there’s always Time Magazine. And you have to read. There are many books now about Asia, the Easternization of Asia. Have you heard of that?
Ms. Ressa: Yes.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: And the 100 years Marathon of America. So if you just have the patience to read also which is also my…When I get hold of a book, maski ngayon, hindi ko bibitawan ‘yan hanggang alas-sais na ng umaga. But by the time I am ready for lunch, tapos na ‘yan. But isang hawakan lang ako sa libro. Ang akala kasi nila ang bunganga ko ganito, akala nila na…And they just say, “You were just a small time guy coming in from the cold.”
Ms. Ressa: No, it was clear from our interview last year that you knew that you’ve had some background to make up your mind about these things. And you said all of this that you would move the Philippines away from the United States and turn it towards China. You also said…So let me take that through then. So these are deeply held views, the same way that as a candidate, you were very clear on these three points that you are gonna declare war on drug. And you also said that violence is an important part because fear is an important part. This is why you are the wartime, you are the wartime President. When will that pivot to peacetime happen? Because your election also brought out all of the divisions in Philippine society. And now family against family. When do you begin to unite? When do you turn that huge popularity that you have and build rather than destroy?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: I cannot talk to the criminals, ever. Now, political parties, you must remember that I hindi ko naman minamaliit, but it was just a simple small-time PDP. It used to be big ‘yung partido ni Ninoy Aquino, PDP-Laban.
Iyong ang ano ko is there are so many things which I have to correct early on. And I’m sure that I will find enemies. And not all would really appreciate what I’m doing, and I understand that because I’ve been in politics for 23 years.
Ang ano ko is the time to mend sa political scene — it’s quite difficult because of the personalities involved. These are the people who cannot accept defeat. They will just nurture that feeling until the next election.
Ms. Ressa: Are you talking about the Liberal Party?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: O, yeah…
Ms. Ressa: We have talked about the Liberal Party before. But we have seen is that they are fragmented, they have no leader, I mean there is a leader so not…But essentially there is no opposition against you.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Well, of course, ‘yung left.
Ms. Ressa: But the left is with you.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Duterte talaga ‘yan. Ganyan lang talaga ‘yan sila. Kunwari just to — we’ll keep up to you that — “hey, guys, we are here still.” Nothing big. Ako hindi ko naman sila minama — ah komunista.
So I… But I have to start with the hard ones. I have talk to the Moro people.
Ms. Ressa: Which you’re doing.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: We are doing, yeah, and we are starting. Well, of course, next week there gonna be on a round table discussions already. Nur is…I called Nur, I said, “You promised to come back.”
Ms. Ressa: You actually brought Nur Misuari back into national lands.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Back, because there is no point. Matanda na nga siya but it would be foolhardy to say that he is a spent — because sabi ko nga if Nur Misuari dies in the forest of Jolo, where we get him out but detained him and he dies, there will never be peace in Mindanao. The Tausugs, the Sama, the Yakans, ano, wala.
Ms. Ressa: You are also the first Philippine President to acknowledge ISIS is in the Philippines.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Yes, yes.
Ms. Ressa: You have the same intelligence groups, the same military, the same police and yet the former administration was in denial for a long time. What made you so sure? What made you decide to say it? And you know what does this mean? What is this threat?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: I’m from Mindanao and I am a descendant to a Moro. And prangka-prangka, may mga pinsan ako nasa kabila. Nasa MI, iyong iba nabalitaan ko nasa ISIS. Sabi ko, “Well, pasensiyahan tayo.” You are you and I am I. And I said, “If we meet in one corner, so be it.”
Ms. Ressa: So you know personally that ISIS is recruiting in the Philippines?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Yes, because of the… May mga scholars kasi. Hindi importante sa akin ‘yang isang battalion na may armas, it’s nothing to me.
Pero kung pati mga Arab, ‘wag na lang tayo mag —Caucasian, mga Arab and they are there preaching and mga scholars, they are the most dangerous…
Ms. Ressa: Ideology, you are thinking ideology. This is a global problem, ISIS, the Islamic State. Have you talked about it with other global leaders?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Yes. Part of our discussions. Sabi ko ‘yung one hour kami. And ako naman ayaw ko because of my roots. And the fact that I come from Mindanao. I do not want to and then I said my cousins are there. Well, I saw them during the burial of my cousin who died, Melvin Roa, this was last month tapos nagdatingan ‘yung…I saw them when I was young, pero nagdatingan ‘yung mga Moro galing Lanao, nandoon sa burial. So nag-usap. Nalaman ko nga sabi niya, ‘yung isang pinsan mo. Sabi ko, “I’m sorry but, you know, I am serving a Republic, I am not serving a relationship.” You just tell them, wala talaga akong magawa.
Either we come together and understand, renew the endearments, but for you to, sabi ko… And I would like to also tell now tonight, forgive my posture —
Ms. Ressa: You are tired.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Living room lang ito talk eh. The ISIS seems to be everywhere now. In Samar, it was an explosion. In Midsayap, while the priest was giving his sermon about extrajudicial killing, pinaputok ‘yung simbahan niya.
Ms. Ressa: Christmas eve.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Christmas eve. I hope it will not get out of control. But my…I had a conference with the top guys of the government military and also the police. You have to not only to appear strong but you have to be strong because this is…I mean, another problem, it’s no joke.
Ito, it takes — you know what’s happening…They are blasting into kingdom come.
Ms. Ressa: So January last year, the Islamic state in Jakarta pulled off attacks, bombings in the center of Jakarta, incompetently done. But there’s a rivalry to who can be made the IS, the Islamic state province, would you see this —
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Where? Where?
Ms. Ressa: When you say the Midsayap bomb—that that explosion is connected to ISIS?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Yes, and the Davao bomb explosion.
Ms. Ressa: The Davao bom — connected to the Maute brothers. But I will stop being geeky ‘coz this is a—these are things I would love to talk to you more about that. But since —
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: I am not ready to share information.
Ms. Ressa: Sige, sir?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: No, I can give some… I could drop some hints or idea because you travel maybe frequently in the areas in Mindanao. But I’m sorry but I could not be more open and because this is something which has to be — not really top secret because they are there fighting but sub rosa.
Ms. Ressa: So can I ask you, I’ll switch topics here which has to do with…You have a lot that you’re going to want to do. You are, you’ve talked about your health…
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Yeah.
Ms. Ressa: A lot. You said you take, you are taking Fentanyl…
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Yes, that is true.
Ms. Ressa: Will your health get in the way of carrying out the duties of the President?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: I use Fentanyl because I had a very bad spill when I was 68, I am now 72. It’s the result of the last one, it’s across the area. And I had a bad spine C4 and 7. It used to give me headache early on sa aksidente. In a scale of — pain scale of one to ten, I place it about 6 noon, sometimes 7.
So I’d puke when it gets to be so…But overtime, nahuli na kasi ako ng — pain management ito ha, ng mga doctor, ayaw ko ng…I do not have this permission to… Nahuli niya ako na gumamit ako ng isang touch patch talaga
I was supposed to cut it into four. Pero ‘pag inilagay ko kasi ‘yung buo, talagang wala akong ano… Feeling good ako. Everything is alright with the world so… I’m comfortable. Noong nakita niya minsan kasi sa — marka ng patch. Sabi niya, “ilan ang…” Sabi ko, “‘yung, sinabi mo.” Sabi niya, “Do not… If you lie to me, go to another doctor.” Wala na ngayon.
Ms. Ressa: But Mr. President, well, last year, you told me that part of the reason you were thinking that you shouldn’t run for president was because of your health and you were choosing between spending that time with your family first…
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: I was talking about quality. Because I have set a standard for somebody to be president and to the last minute, you know and everybody knows that I was really reluctant to run. Last minute, I just do not know how destiny really works out. But I found myself announcing that I will run even if I do not have the money.
Ms. Ressa: I felt in that interview that you were going to run. I felt you were going to run.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Ah alam mo.
Ms. Ressa: So, a year ago also — so I’ll take this forward. A year ago, you told me you would be a dictator. You were so straightforward. You said, “If I win, I’m going to be dictator.” And then just this month you said that you want changes in the Constitution so that it’s easier to declare Martial Law. I mean, do you have any plans? One of the things we hear all the time is about a revolutionary government.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: As a mayor, it would be really just a — it just exercise in futility. What I’m saying, Ressa, is that you have this Constitutional provision. It was Ping Lacson who said that, “If things get worse in Mindanao, you might declare Martial Law.” So that started — the loose talks about Martial Law
Pero there’s really no need for it because Martial Law would burden also the innocent people who are not into the you know… because of the declaration. Gusto mo mag-curfew and things like that. I am not up to it, actually. So, because I can get … The way that I run things now, can you sense a little bit of dictatorship? Ganoon ako mag-utos. When I say, kita mo akong magsalita? Pati ‘yung money laundering, sabi ko, mga p******* i** kayo diyan, you better behave or …
Ms. Ressa: This is the impression we have of your presidency from the outside. You are very focused on the war on drugs and you want to see that. You’re very impatient. You seem to have given your Cabinet secretaries marching orders to make change happen quickly, things that faze the public, consumers, and that they’ve gone ahead and done that. But at the same time, you also micro-manage some small things. Like the airport, somebody had said before that…
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: It speaks a lot to the common man. I don’t mind you milking the big ones. I might just say, okay … ganoon. Sa mga mayaman, ganoon, “Bigyan mo na ‘yan.” Sa mga NPA, balik-balik, sabihin, “Ilan ibinigay mo?” “3,000” “Dagdagan mo ng, gawain mo ng singko para hindi na balik-balik ‘yan.” Until such time that we are able to grasp. Anyway, I could not stop them with my bare hands neither has the military over the years really put a stop to it. It’s there, it’s a reality and only because we are so stretched thin. I only have so many soldiers to take care of the Republic, every square inch of it.
Ms. Ressa: The economy, which is what you’re most concerned about is-
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Yes. Because that is the salvation actually.
Ms. Ressa: And, 3rd quarter GDP growth rate is 7.1%, quite high, right? But the peso has depreciated.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Well, it did, it’s the forces of the market. The dollar goes very, very strong because they’re recovering and only because Trump is there. But when Trump becomes the president, he starts to do things, you can be sure that again, the peso will rise again. Well, that is the play of monetary… Wala hindi ko na kaya ‘yan. Taking order in this country and allowing business to grow, environment. And if they can get to have peace with the communists so they can … Except that again there is another one brewing and I said that’s the Maute.
Ms. Ressa: The Maute group
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Yeah.
Ms. Ressa: Which is there. You like Trump.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Yes, because…
Ms. Ressa: You certainly like him better than you like Obama, is that correct?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Hindi kasi si Obama, I like him. But he was too intellectual for the… He plays so much… Ganito ‘yan. Now, look, sabi ko nga, you give me with 3,000 initially, lahat na. You lump it all on my lap.
And I said remember, you invaded Panama because Panama was flooding the USA with drugs. You uprooted the President, brought him to the United States to face trial and he is serving time. And you violated a country’s sovereignty. Now you…Ang standard kasi nila, so nalito kasi ako, ito ‘yun. There’s Obama chastising me, which is very, very wrong, because there’s a forum. You are — invasions. If you have something against me or to — you’re complaint is something then throw it there, have it investigated, get the results, then the body might confront me, including you.
But you…Chastising me and all and threatening me with extrajudicial killings and sending me to the International Criminal Court. When I know very well that they are not even members of the International Criminal Court. So why are you…? Ibinabandera mo na…Sabi ko, kaya ako na… Mataas kasi, intellectually… President Obama ought not to be there, dapat sa Harvard sa Yale…
Ito namang si Trump ang talagang big time boy diyan sa… Parang tigas-tigas. Sabi niya, pagtawag ko, “Oh, hi Mayor.” “Sir.” “Is this Mayor Duterte?” “Yes, sir” “Oh how are you?” “Fine, sir.” “Are you coming to the United States?” Sabi ko, “Maybe. If you’ll invite me, but I’ll think it over.” “Well, if you happen to be in New York or in Washington, DC, in the area, look me up and we’ll have coffee.” Sabi ko, “Yes, sir.” “And I heard that we have the same mouth.” And I said, “Yes, sir.” “That’s good. You’re doing right.” So, nalilito ako. Ano ba itong America. You stayed there for the longest time. What is really America?
Ms. Ressa: I think what we’re seeing right now is the force of a leader, rght? So, there is a change and America is waiting to see exactly how Trump, how President Trump will change the United States but in your mind, because President Trump is there, will you change your policy towards the United States?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: No, it’s about too late. You know, I will not… We will remain faithful with our treaties, the defense pact. But I’m sorry, it would — it’s no use to us anymore. We will never have Third World War, Maria Ressa, that’s the end of the world. So, it’s useless to be talking about the missiles and that’s —
Ms. Ressa: This is interesting again because you’re very pragmatic. You don’t want to go to war and you want to negotiate and you want to make sure that it is pragmatic.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Yes. Because we’re just gonna … We’ll just tell both of them and say na, “Why don’t you just stop?” Anyway, it will end in a talk, so why don’t you just do it earlier?
Ms. Ressa: So, let me ask again this. You have switched and changed things so fast that the institutions in the Philippines are catching up with you and I guess part of the question goes back to you are such a strong force of personality, leading by personality. And that takes a toll on the institutions. How are you going to bring the institutions in the Philippines in this? Are they important?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Yes, but you know, I get this business of running the country, and it is a sacred duty. You can come to my level but do not expect me to go down to you and understand you and rethink of what I should be doing.
This is what is in my paradigm and you’ll just have to… Come up and share with me the divisions of this country. Don’t give me anything about delays. Ayoko …
Alam mo, may isang beses, ‘di ba I opened this sa PTV 8888, and then you can
Ms. Ressa: Yes.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: And then there’s this guy, he took advantage of 8888. He got his title after 9 years. Sabi ko, “Saan ‘yang p***** i**…? Anong opisina ‘yan?” “Sir, it’s in Manila.” Sabi ko, “Tawagan mo.”
Ms. Ressa: But, Mr. President, that is again a mayor’s job.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Yeah.
Ms. Ressa: And as President, I wonder, whether, you know, how has that changed you being President? These things will be very helpful for the public and that’s what you want.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Well, alam mo kasi, I don’t know what happened really to the quality of leadership. There are plenty… In this time meron pero bakit…Hindi ako maka-ano, karami kong computer na nabili, Maria, bakit pa maghintay ng dalawang…Kaya I impose this one month. Noon it takes you about NEDA, three years. Until now, ‘yung application namin for railway, wala.
Sabi ko, one month, that’s it. So they’re my friends but if you cannot comply with the one month limitation, I’m sorry, you go out. So ibig sabihin, hindi mo kaya. Kung hindi mo kaya, be kind to me and say, “hindi ko kaya”. Para hindi ka madamay, umalis ka na lang.
So in the cities, I now would require three days. Davao, three days eh, business permit. ‘Yung sa electrical, bakit magdaan pa ng bumbero? Eh ‘di huwag ka na magpunta ng electrical engineering, puntahan mo bumbero. Kasi ang bumbero, pabilihan ka ng fire extinguisher, ‘pag hindi, upuan. I…from time to time, hindi madaling putulin eh. I will just ride on it and get the changes along the way.
Ms. Ressa: You agree you’ve overturned the power structures in the Philippines?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Yes.
Ms. Ressa: And now you have 2017. Now you’re six months and you see the extent of the problem, and what you want to do. What are you going to do in 2017?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: I would continue to overhaul, make suggestions. And you know the only thing I wanted this thing about Martial Law, we can have a Constitutional convention.
Kasi ang Martial Law power says that any citizen, for that matter, can go to the Supreme Court and petition to look into the factual basis. But at the same time, that also says I have to go to Congress to get another 60 days.
You know, the President is always — kasi give and take ‘yan dito eh. So, what now happens if the findings of the Supreme Court on the factual basis runs counter to the resolutions or findings of Congress? That would make the president now the dictator. He can always ignore Congress and will say, Congress, you do not fight with the Supreme Court. I will fight and protect the Supreme Court but Supreme Court, how about this Congress? So, take the cue from me. Eh di mas malala. Because, it would encourage me now to a dictatorship.
Ms. Ressa: Again, we go now …
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Again I said, that’s basing on the conditions are there for a declaration of Martial Law. Kaya ako, okay na ako sa state of lawlessness.
Ms. Ressa: Last question, Mr. President, ‘coz…Have you made a mistake?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Plenty.
Ms. Ressa: In this time period as President.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Major ones? In the appointments … Itong karamihan ng corruption is in the regulatory bodies, the LTFRB, ‘yang mga permits and social security numbers. Kasi, they have the discretion of whether to let it go or disapprove.
Ms. Ressa: So, following up the mistake, when you make a mistake, because you have so much power now in this country, how do we prevent mistakes? How do we curb potential …
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Alam mo ang tao, hindi mo talaga mabasa. I mean, I cannot give you an iron clad guarantee that all of the members are, with due respect to Supreme Court, Congress, and even the Cabinet.
I cannot, for the life of me, I have no way of — even calibrating the action of how much or up to, how many in the action to the things that’s happening in the country.
And I’m reminded na lang of… I don’t know if I mentioned this…If I were to try to read, much less answer all attacks made of, you shut Malacanang, might us be closed for any other business. Kung sagutin ko lahat …
Ms. Ressa: Criticism is part of presidency…
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: I did the very best I know how, the very best I can.
Ms. Ressa: Every president knows that, right? There’s a target, a bull’s eye on you when you become president.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: If the end brings me out all right, what is said against me won’t amount to anything. But if the end brings me out wrong, whatever I make whether it makes a difference, it’s still wrong.
So, I take solace in the words of an American, isa sa mga idol ko, Lincoln, because, you know, he freed the slaves. Ayaw ko dito. Kaya ako talaga galit. But on a different dimension, assuming, just to be correct, for the sake of argument, 4 million addicts. You are practically making them slaves. You are producing slaves in my country. They are addicted to you because of the chemicals.
Diyan ako galit. This is a huge number. Mag-prangkahan na lang tayo. Maswerte ‘yang mga ‘yan. Kung nahuli ko kayo ganung isang tonelada, papatayin ko talaga. Bahala na kung saan kayo magreklamo. Isang tonelada? Ako na mismo ang …
Ms. Ressa: What makes you so confident you are right? But you know when you say killing…When you say you’re going to kill and if you’re wrong, there’s no…
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Well, because if you make them slaves, you rob them of their dignity as a Filipino and as a human being. Hindi ko ginagawa iyan sa buong buhay ko.
I do not oppress people, but I stand against oppression. Kaya umiinit ang ulo ko. I stand against corruption. That is fundamentally wrong. This is just a perception of inherently wrong or right.
Alam na natin ‘yan but wawawa ‘yung tao. Kaya sabi ko, even if you disregard, kalimutan mo muna ‘yung Revised Penal Code, about border, kalimutan mo ang homicide, ‘yung ano…
Tanungin kita, in the universal or before God because there is always a God, by what right do you have to cook shabu and destroy the life of my son or daughter? And what right do you have to create monsters who rape my daughter? P****** i*** mo, papatayin talaga kita. Leche ka. Kaya diyan ako galit because I have the rage. Ang problema kasi sa iba, wala silang rage.
Ako, because of the … You must remember that my father was the governor of Davao, when it was only one Davao. When my father died, it was divided into Davao del Norte, del Sur, Oriental, Davao Occidental, and Davao City, ComVal Valley.
When my father died, Marcos here president, went into gerrymandering … Cutting up his [inaudible], his lieutenants. So, the planters had their Davao, then the [inaudible] had their coconut. So ganun. And remember that I grew up a son of a migrant father. And remember that naging governor siya for a short time.
But I tell you, it’s really the truth. Noong nag-aral ka rito, San Beda, there was a time na pagkamatay ng tatay ko, eh ‘di wala nang sweldo, wala na lahat. We have to work on the retirement and many things. Ang nanay ko, maestra lang. There was a time sabi niya, “Anak, dito ka na lang sa Ateneo de Davao.” Pero pag-apply ko doon, ang Ateneo sinabi, you have to go back to — or a grade — a year lower. Eh di sana kung graduate ako ng 3rd year, balik ako pagka-3rd year ulit.
Ang sabi ko, “Ma, dito na lang ako.” Nagbili ako ng ano kasi nasira ‘yung, nadisgrasya ‘yung … Marami rin akong … There was a time na hindi na lang ako nag-ingay, from diyan sa San Beda, lalakarin ko ‘yang Ayala pauwi ng City Hall, Arroceros. Nandiyan ‘yung dormitoryo namin.
Ang ka-roommate ko si Yasay but he was studying UP Padre Faura. Ang kaharap kong kuwarto are also students, hindi taga-rito. Dulay, from Baguio and Bebot Bello. Karamihan kasi walang pumupunta ng… Hindi ako pumunta ng Ateneo, hindi ko kaya ang UP. Mga bright sila dyan.
Ateneo, hindi ako pumunta because nga I got out. Second year ako, pinaalis ako, I was kicked out sa Ateneo. So pagka-college ko, nagpunta ako dito, I was choosing the law school, pumunta ako ng San Beda. Kaya ang karamihan kong kaibigan, in the Cabinet sila Tugade puro Ilokano ‘yan. Puro Ilokano kasi — Davao, Yasay, Ilonggo. Pero Davao ano rin ako…
Ms. Ressa: You’ve been…You haven’t minced any word about your support for Senator Bongbong Marcos. You brought him with …
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: No. We’re never allies. I believe the entire Philippines is hearing us out, we’re never allies. He was on his own, I was in my small town.
So, wala akong problema. But ‘yung…Kami sa College of Law, ‘yung sinabi talaga ni Neptali Gonzales, ‘yung tatay ng ano diyan, tapos si Isagani Cruz, ‘pag labas mo doon sa katawan ng nanay mo, kailangan Pilipino ka na. That is why I disagree with the Supreme Court kay Grace. Kasi once — sinasabi talaga…Lahat ng abugado ng Pilipinas magtanong ka, you must be a citizen paglabas mo sa katawan ng nanay mo.
Ms. Ressa: I have signs, Mr. President, that it’s time for us to end. Just last, last thought which is leadership. You are now leading our country at a very difficult time for the world. Your last thoughts on leadership, what will guide you?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Well, I would be only guided by my passion that is the residual ano ko — my passion to serve. So I sought the presidency, I got it. But I promise you that I will stick to the rules, that I will not bend it for anybody.
Sinabi ko lahat pati sa PAGCOR: Do not ever entertain…And ito, I promise you now, if one of my relatives is involved in corruption sa gobyerno, I will give you my word now, Happy New Year, I will resign from the presidency.
‘Pag may anak akong sabit sa… ‘Wag naman ‘yang chismis… Kung mademanda ka doon sa Ombudsman, magre-resign ako. I will step down willingly and hand it to Leni.
Ms. Ressa: Well, thank you, Mr. President. Thank you for your time. We’ve been speaking with President Rodrigo Duterte here in Malacañan Palace. It is coming up on New Year’s and we are looking to 2017 year, a great new year ahead. I’m Maria Ressa, for Rappler. Thank you so much!