President Rodrigo Duterte relaxes while waiting to accept the credentials of new ambassadors at the study room of Malacañang Palace on Jan. 10.
WE watched two separate hour-long year end one-on-one interviews with President Rodrigo Duterte by veteran TV journalists from CNN and ABS-CBN in Manila.
We did it because we want to share with our readers, directly from the mouth of the Chief Executive (assuming he won’t re-interpret what he said after a few days), his innermost feelings about his presidency and some issues that came up as a result of his decisions.
Like we stated in this space when President Duterte assumed office on June 30, 2016, the Filipino Reporter will support this President’s plans and programs which we believe are for the best interests of the Filipino people.
At the same time, we said we will play the role of constructive fiscalizer believing that such posture is healthy for democracy.
During the two interviews, we gathered the following:
•President Duterte will continue with his anti-drugs campaign.
He said, “Unless the last drug lord is killed, this campaign (anti-drugs) will continue up to the last day of my term.”
He also said the killings will stop if all drug users in the country will stop using drugs.
•To this President, violence is necessary to lead.
Violent language, violent killings, etc.
•He is Machiavellian in the sense that he wants to be feared by his people.
•He thinks his biggest accomplishment in the first six months of his term is in the area of corruption.
He cites the changes at the airport where nobody asks for money anymore from arriving passengers.
•He doesn’t think martial law is needed because he has already vast powers under the present state of lawlessness.
He could already be a dictator under the present situation, according to him.
•At 72, he says it is already too late to change identities.
This statement includes his use of bad words.
•His passion to serve is dictated by a rage against drug lords and pushers who make slaves of his countrymen.
•When it comes to drugs, he won’t give importance to the rule of law.
“Kalimutan mo na yang batas. Ano’ng karapatan mong gawing alipin ang kababayan ko?”
(These statements are addressed to drug lords.)
•It’s too late to change his foreign policy shift from the U.S. towards China and Russia despite his supposed closeness to President-elect Donald Trump.
•He said he finds President Obama too intellectual.
Thus, Mr. Obama should not be in the White House, but teaching in Harvard.
Based on all of the above, we feel that all his accomplishments are obscured by extrajudicial killings which, according to police, have reached over 6,000 to-date.
This President may be sincere in his desire to make changes but, we think, he is wrong in killing his own people.
We believe every life is sacred.