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I’m a dictator for good of my country: Duterte
By Manolo B. Jara February 10, 2018
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MANILA: For the first time, President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte admitted, with his usual use of expletives, he was a “dictator” so he could implement major changes for the country’s peace, progress and development as well as stop illegal drugs, corruption and criminality.

“If you say dictator, I am really a dictator. Because if I don’t (act like a) dictator, son of a bitch, nothing will happen to this nation,” Duterte told more than 200 communist rebels who surrendered and whom he treated for dinner at Malacanang Palace on Wednesday night.

“If I don’t (act) a dictator - my style now - nothing will happen to this country,” Duterte reiterated in Cebuano, a regional language popular to regions and provinces in the Visayass in Central Philippines.

He pointed out he believes most Filipinos would appreciate his style, pointing out that that more than 16 million voted for him in the May 2016 presidential election.

As such, without an “iron fist,” chaos would ensue if he goes soft in the campaign against corruption, illegal drugs, rampant criminality and other trouble-makers, the president warned.

Duterte new stand, however, marked a significant departure from his successful presidential campaign when he vowed he would not declare martial law so as not to dishonour the memory of his late mother who firmly opposed such move during the Marcos dictatorship.

On May 23, 2017, Duterte imposed martial law over the whole of troubled Mindanao when Daesh-linked terrorists laid siege on Marawi, the capital city of Lanao del Sur province.

The Senate and the House of Representatives met in a joint session in late 2017 and voted overwhelmingly to extend martial law in Mindanao for another year, with effect from Jan.1 to Dec.31, 2018.

Opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes, one of Duterte’s most vocal critics, immediately reacted on Friday and stressed that the Philippines does not need a dictator at this time.

Trillanes reiterated that the brutal and bloody war on illegal drugs launched by Duterte resulted in alleged rampant human rights abuses particularly extra-judicial killings that affected mostly the poor.

Senator Bam Aquino, a grandson of the late global democracy icon president Corazon Aquino, also weighed in on the issue as he echoed Trillanes’s stand the country does not need a dictatorship at this time.

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