Duterte: “You say I’m a dictator? I am really a dictator”

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 08 February) — Before a crowd of New People’s Army (NPA) surrenderers in Malacanang Wednesday night, an obviously irked President Rodrigo Duterte said he feels insulted by allegations he is a puppet of the United States because he does not even want to talk to Americans but admits he is a dictator, claiming it is necessary.

Muingon mo’g diktador? Diktador gyud ko. Kay hindi ko mag-diktador, p__t__na, walang mangyayari sa bayan na ‘to. Tinuod (You say I’m a dictator? I’m really a dictator. Because if I will not be a dictator (expletive), nothing will happen in this country. That’s true), Duterte told 217 NPA surrenderers flown in from Mindanao, in a speech delivered in Cebuano, the first 87 minutes of it aired live over state-owned PTV4 before he asked the TV crew to stop filming.

“Og di ko mag-diktador kana style nako ron, walay mahitabo sa atong nasod” (If I don’t act like a dictator, like my style now, nothing will happen in this country), he stressed.

“Kinahanglan. Tutal pinili man ko ninyo. Ngano di man ninyo ko sundon?” (It is necessary. After all, you voted for me. Why will you not obey me?), Duterte said.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers a lengthy speech before rebel returnees at Malacañan Palace on February 7, 2018. ACE MORANDANTE/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

The New People’s Army (NPA), he said, can never win in its war against government, reiterating his Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is well-equipped with airplanes that could drop bombs, among others.

“Ingnan ko bombahan ko nang inyong p__t_nang eskwelahan. Ana dayon sila ‘Ah Duterte diktador, pasista, mao kini, mao kana, U.S. Tang_na, insulto. Kanus-a pa ang nagpa-under sa Amerikano?” (I said I will bomb your (expletive) school. They said ‘Ah Duterte, dictator, fascist,  US. (Expletive). That’s an insult. Since when have I allowed myself to be under the Americans?) he asked.

“Enforce the fear”

“Equalize the terror” or “enforce the fear” has been Duterte’s governance style since he was elected mayor of Davao City in 1988 (he served seven terms, interrupted only by one term at the House of Representatives from 1998 to 2001 and another term as vice mayor from 2010 to 2013).

At the Christmas party with the Davao media on December 15 last year, Duterte recalled how he took over a city that was just recovering from the daily killings under the Marcos dictatorship, that he dealt with the NPA first by coming up with a modus vivendi with them to spare the city, then the criminals whom he warned should leave the city or he would kill them.

“My resolve was not really to play it safe. My resolve was to just equalize the terror that was being perpetrated upon people,” he said.

Citing Machiavelli, Duterte told MindaNews at the Presidential Guest House in Panacan on January 12 that “it is not enough that they love you, you must be feared so that you will be obeyed.”

He struck terror while he was mayor, warning kidnappers, drug pushers rapists and other criminals to leave the city or they would be killed.

His bloody war against illegal drugs and criminality in the city landed him on the pages of Time Magazine in 2002 as “The Punisher.”

Duterte also enforced fear while on the campaign trail, warning he would dump criminals into Manila Bay to fatten the fish there, was unfazed by criticisms that he was behind the killing of around a thousand suspected drug pushers and other criminals in Davao City, challenging critics to file charges against him.

“When you destroy, you kill”

“When I was a mayor, I said ‘destroy the drug industry, do not destroy my city.’ Do not deprive us of our young daughters, our children because I will kill you. When you destroy, you kill,” he told MindaNews on January 12.

But he denied ordering murder. “I did not say that you kill him even if he is innocent. That would be the most stupid thing that I can even think of to utter in public. I have to be strong because at this time in our national life, respect for the law seems to be not there anymore. So you have to enforce the fear. Eh wala nang nagrerespeto. Everybody was into it, nobody was minding how many persons or how many lives they will destroy in the process. So they just bullsh_ted everything so I came into the picture and I said I’m building a city, do not f_ck with it, do not destroy it because I need money to build a city. I am not a policeman, I am not a soldier, I am a mayor and am building a city.”

Duterte has not lost an election since he joined the electoral arena in 1988 after serving as OIC Vice Mayor from 1986 to 1987. Before that he was a government prosecutor.

He says the people’s support to him and his family is largely due to “good governance,” and that this was the reason why he did not file his certificate of candidacy for President until his daughter Sara agreed to be the substitute candidate for mayor.

Sara won the mayoralty but tendered her resignation on July 1, Day 1 of the Duterte administration.

Duterte did not accept her resignation. “Mapahiya ako kasi sabi ko hindi ako magtakbo ng .. Presidente na ang tao na maiwan ko dito .. sayang ang ilang taong piñatay ko, ilang taong kinatay ko para lang maganito ang Davao. Ilang taong sinipa ko, sinampal ko para, tapos masira? Gusto ko yung tao pareho sa akin hawakan talaga niya. (It would have been a shame because I said I would not run for President unless I am sure who would be left behind.. it would have been a waste of lives, of those people I killed, I slaughtered  just so Davao City would be like this. How many people did I kick, slap, and I will allow the city to be destroyed? I want somebody who would focus on our gains),” Duterte said.

“It is not enough that – Machiavelli- it is not enough that they love you, you must be feared so that you will be obeyed. Yan ang problema sa politika natin. Ngayon kung hindi sila matakot, na matakot lang man sila kang Duterte, lalo na kang Inday (Sara) kasi nangbugbog” (especially Sara),” Duterte added, referring to how his daughter, who was then city mayor, punched a sheriff in 2011 over a demolition incident.

Martial law

While visiting Russia, Duterte declared martial law over Mindanao’s 27 provinces and 33 cities on May 23, 2017, some eight hours after the clashes in Marawi City between government forces and the Maute Group and its allies started. He cut short his trip.

Before May 23, Duterte had been warning for several months that he would declare martial law but when he finally, he did not consult his Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon and Armed Forces Chief of Staff, Gen. Eduardo Año even as all of them were in the same hotel where he was billeted.

“We were in Moscow, but the President declared martial law without asking me or General Año or Esperon…,” Lorenzana told the National Defense College of the Philippines Alumni Continuing Education 2017.

Martial law has been extended twice, first in July last year until yearend 2017 and on December 13, Congress again granted Duterte’s request to extend anew, this time until December 31, 2018.

The Supreme Court, voting 10-5 last Tuesday, upheld the year-long extension of martial law and suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)