By Business Mirror, April 8 2019

Image Credit to Business Mirror

(Excerpts of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s speech on April 4, 2019, at the 31st Annual Convention of the Prosecutors’ League of the Philippines, Asturias Hotel, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan)

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and the other members of the Cabinet; Executive Officers, Board of Directors and Members of the Prosecutors’ League of the Philippines led by its President Irwin Malaya; Palawan Provincial Governor Jose Alvarez; Prosecutor General [Anthony] Fadullon; I think I saw the city mayor, but I don’t know if he’s here; the other distinguished members of the League; ladies and gentlemen.

I am happy once again to join my fellow prosecutors and other key officials of the Department of Justice in this annual gathering that seeks to unite and strengthen the National Prosecution Service.

Halfway through my term, I am proud to have served our nation with you, the hardworking men and women of the Prosecutors’ League. In the past three years, you have shown your unwavering commitment and wholehearted support for this administration, especially in our campaign against criminality, illegal drugs and corruption.

As a former prosecutor, I understand the very important role that you play in the administration of justice, which unfortunately involves antagonizing lawless elements, hardened criminals and their powerful backers.

The assassination of prosecutors across the country had lighted the danger that prosecutors and their respective families that they endure.

Rest assured that with the help of all our law enforcement agencies, we are expediting the investigation of these assassination cases.

Paano? I was once a prosecutor. In Davao City, I would not want to pull my own chair in front of you, pare-pareho lang naman tayo. But I was assigned to investigate police and military officers during martial law, and high-profile ranking rebel leaders.

And I suffered a strafing of my house…so alam ko kung gaano kahirap.

When I was campaigning for the mayorship, I went to the mountains; and I was taken hostage by the NPAs. I said there is always a time for everybody to die. If it’s my time, it’s my time. But let the world know na pinatay ninyo ako dahil sa trabaho ko. Iyon na lang ang consuelo ko. Eh hindi nila ako pinatay, ang mga g***. Eh ’di ngayon balikan ko sila. [laughter]

Well, because of that we became friends and actually, during the last election, at least in Mindanao, lahat ng NPA—kasi we became fast friends, so much so that I was the one going in and out of the mountains and ranges of Mindanao retrieving the hostages, soldiers and policemen. And we had a good rapport because pareho ang horizons namin.

And I realized the social ramifications of how a Filipino would have to undergo so many things in his life: go to Mindanao because it is a land of promise when after all there was really none. Because when the Spaniards and the Americans went out, they gave the choicest lands to the elite. I do not hate rich people, but I am sure you have heard me talking about the elite who are abusing our country and taking advantage of their influence. Well of course they had the money getting in their contracts and not doing it—and collecting the people’s money.

I ordered the review of the contracts. And here comes Drilon saying,  “be careful.” Be careful of what? Pareho man kami dumaan ng Department of Justice. Why should I be very careful in reviewing contracts that are not for the interest of the people? And the onerous provisions there that the people have to honor. So? You think that I will allow it just because we cannot impair the obligation of our contracts?

You know, sabihin ko sa iyo, you pushed me—nandiyan ’yung media. I warned them, I have enough problems with criminality, drugs, rebellion and all. Pero ’pag ako ang pinaabot ninyo nang sagad, I will declare the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus; and I will arrest all of you.

I am willing to be hanged. I’m willing to die. Hindi ako kagaya sa kanila just to be in complacent—be careful of legalities of what?

There is a contract that said, the republic—this Republic of the Philippines cannot hinder or interrupt in the matter of the rates. Ano? Kaya ako sabi ko, itinapon ko sa Cabinet. Sabi ko ayusin ninyo ’yan. I will not honor.

Do not push me to the wall. You know in one of the conference namin—command conference with the Police and the entire Armed Forces, galing ako doon solving the Nayong Pilipino. I terminated all board members. Why? Because one, wala silang bidding. I’ve been telling them bidding, bidding, bidding talaga. A bidding that is not rigged, a bidding that is fair and most of all a bidding that will protect government interest. Sinasabi ko ’yan paulit.

So galing ako doon, pagpunta ako doon sa command conference, nakita ko ’yung report na may ghost delivery sa medicines sa AFP hospital. Kaya talaga akopumutok, sabi ko…if the Armed Forces major command and their commanders would stand up, I will step down and resign tonight. I will go home to Davao. Bahala kayo.

All those years, nakita naman ninyo paano naglaro ang droga dito. It was by the thousands, then it became millions. Today, at any given time, tingnan mo ’yung crawler ng television, ’yung tumatakbo. You see there, there is always a crime-related incident, criminality and billions na ngayon ang drugs.

Some say are we succeeding? Because if you are succeeding—if we are succeeding, wala na ang droga. That’s too simplistic. Drug is a world issue. Lahat tinatamaan na ngayon. Even Sri Lanka, gusto niyang sundin ang Pilipinas

But I never said, you kill Alfredo Santos there or you kill drug lord Ho Chi Ming. Ang sinabi ko, do not destroy my country because if you destroy my country, I will kill you. That’s what I said when I was a new mayor in Davao City. I’m going to build a city, a comfortable one. Not with all the progress at once and develop overnight. But I’m going to build you a city that will be comfortable to all of you.

And I will return the public streets, alleys, plazas and all to you. And I told the police: I want you to ask your wife and daughter to walk about the streets in your area of jurisdiction. If they come home unmolested, unbridled by any whatever, hindi na-rape, hindi nabastos, then that is the standard that I want you to follow. If you fall short of that, then your city is not peaceful.

This is the first time I mentioned revolutionary government. They always do that sa opposition na mag-diktador daw ako.

Doon sa Cabinet meeting sinabi ko, here is a guy, you gave us a sort of a syllabus. Sabi ko, bakit ’yung delay ganun na lang? Then when he presented the—ito clearance from the Sanggunian, clearance from the BIR, clearance from…

So while he was presenting to the Cabinet, I stood up and I said: “Look, sir. That is not for me. That is for the next president maybe or two more presidents.”

Iyan ang problema sa gobyerno. It’s really the red tape. It’s the many, so many requirements, and they do not move on time because you have to—you have to go back until mag-surrender ka, magbigay ka.

Sinabi ko na sa kanila, ayaw ko ’yang ganun. So this time, I would just only give them 15 days and for the Cabinet members 30 days. Kung hindi niyo matapos, whether meritorious or not, itapon mo sa basura ’yang hinahawakan mo na papel.

This is not to offend the prosecutor sa Lapu-Lapu. Are you here? Iyong sa Lapu-Lapu na tinawagan ko. Iyong babae ’yung binalatan ’yung mukha. So I ordered him to arrest the…

You know, there are so many archaic—I would not say obsolete. Because it could apply in areas where it is really appropriate to do it. But itong hot pursuit, tagal na ’yan. Panahon pa ni Kristo ’yan. Kaya siya hinabol ng Hudyo because of the hot pursuit. Hindi pa nga Kodigo Penal ’yan eh.

Look, let us be realistic. Iyang hot pursuit na ’yan, that’s the original case, tingnan ninyo. It was during the time na maghabulan pa kayo ng kabayo, na wala pang tao ang mundo. And the world at that time was so big, there was a space wherever you are, you can be seen.

But hot pursuit now is may patayin ka sa Pasay. Pupunta ka dito sa airport, bili ka ng ticket, maglipad ka ng Davao. Oh how hot pursuit can operate? How would the principle of hot pursuit be applied now?

But it’s in the book and you have to follow the characterization, hindi ’yung definition. The characterization ng hot pursuit. Maghabulan nang walang interruption. That is crazy. Now, it is really a crazy notion.

The world now is so complicated.  Simply the archaic hot pursuit, alisin na ninyo ’yan. Do not obey it because if nothing develops in the years to come, it will continue to hound us.

Hot pursuit is if there is a pursuit, for as long as there is an investigator assigned and he studies there and make some projection of probabilities kung saan mo siya makita. And I call the regional commanders there to issue an alert, a lookout.

Tapos eh extrajudicial killing. Look, stupid, as mayor and as President, I can say what I want to say.Pag sinabi kong, papatayin kita. It could be a truism or tinatakot ko ang lahat para mag-tiptoe.

Pero ’yung iba, anong gusto mo, patayin ko o takutin ko? ‘Pag sinabi kong papatayin kita. It might be a deterrent. The word itself. Coming from the mouth of a mayor or a President, baka matakot kita.

There’s the Abu Sayyaf, there’s the ISIS, there’s a rampaging drug problem. What is wrong when I say, do not destroy my country because I will kill you? Tell me what is wrong with that.

Sinong presidente na hindi pwedeng makasabi nang ganun? Taken in the context of what is happening to our country today. If you do that, you say that in Japan or in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, ah wala ’yan.

Pero dito ngayon kung sabihin mo ’yan, sabihin mo ba mali ’yan? If you persist in feeding shabu to our children, I will really kill you. Ang order ko naman sa pulis is go out and destroy the apparatus of the drug industry. It also includes killing people.

Gusto ninyong malaman ilan ang pulis ko na namatay? Almost 1,000 plus. Pagka mayor—ah pagka-Presidente ko? Mga 600. Akala mo ba patay lang nang patay ang pulis ko? Karami kong pulis kaya namatay, pati sundalo.

Now answer me with a sensible.… What precipitated the war in Marawi? Was it an open ceremony of declaring a rebellion or a declaration of a separation as a belligerent country? No. The police were there to serve a warrant of arrest for a Maute member of the family. Then pagdating doon nirakrakan nila ang pulis ng M16, nag-retreat, then the Marines came the following day.

Nine of my Marines that day  who crossed the bridge of Pandi died, and that started the war. Then how many were killed, including the Army? It was, I said, started with a drug problem. I’ve been telling you all along that production of shabu is on the high gear because they are using the money to finance the revolution of the ISIS.

Ngayon we talk in reality. Sa Davao magsabi ako may happy-happy ba doon? Meron. Are there mga chicks? Well, yes. [laughter]  They can be found in any city.

But realistically, Davao is the only place na walang vice squad. Tinanggal ko ’yung vice squad kasi pinaghuhuli na lang nila ’yang mga babae diyan. Tapos kinukuha ’yung pera dinadala sa opisina, ginagamit pa.

Oh ngayon itong warning ko, itong Customs sabi ko baka permanente na talaga ’yan, ’yung military kayo diyan. At sabi ko sa military ’pag may magnakaw, mag-smuggling, patayin ninyo. That’s my order. Barilin ninyo. Patayin ninyo. Kung buhay pa paglapit mo, todasin mo.

So kayong magnanakaw, you are free.… Wala namang pipigil sa inyo eh. No one’s going to stop you from smuggling there. Pero ’pag namatay ka, do not complain. ’Yan ang order ko. Sabi nila hindi mahinto itong corruption sa Customs, tignan natin. Kasi dito hindi nakataya ’yang bulsa mo, nakataya ’yung buhay mo.

Puro kayo abuso, all these years walang respite sa Pilipino. Eh ako sa panahon ko whatever little that I can do.… Tignan mo itong mga pulis, itong si Acierto, ito ’yung nagpatay ng mga ano—tignan mo ’yung report niya. He’s lying. He forgot that he made a report doon sa drug bust sa Davao.

I also encourage the leadership of the Prosecutors’ League to work with the Philippine National Police, the National Bureau of Investigation and other relevant agencies to come up with solutions on how to better protect our prosecutors and their families.

I am ready for any suggestion. Options, all, are on the table. Anong gusto ninyo…? Baril? I will allow it. Oo. [applause]

Ako, noon, kung magtanong kayo ng mga matatanda, may baril talaga ako. I cannot go out without a gun. Hindi ako komportable. Para akong…. Totoo ’yan. Kaya sabi nila para akong nakahubad. Meron talaga akong baril.

When I became mayor ganon rin. Sabi ko sa kanila—chief of police. Kaya matino talaga ’yan lahat. ’Yan siBato is really fundamentally honest. Kasi ’yang mga alam mo, magtanggap man  ’yan mga lechonmga Pasko ganon. Pero kung sabihin mo manghingi? Wala.

So I hope that this convention will not just be a venue to forge stronger ties among yourselves but also a platform to discuss ways to create a safer and more productive work environment in the National Prosecution Service.

As you come together as one family, I ask you, my fellow prosecutors, to never waver in supporting the efforts of this administration in instituting the necessary reforms within DOJ and the NPS so that we may regain our people’s trust and confidence in our justice system.

I’d like to thank you for inviting me to talk to you. I’m not into giving speeches actually. I’m more of a talker—I’d like to converse to my audience. Ganun ang style ko. And I hope that I made myself very clear. There are things you might not really like about me. But that is between me and my God.

So basta trabaho lang tayo. And I do not ask favors. Kung pagdating sa inyo, ang husga ninyo ganun, I will not go to you. I will face the world and say that. It was because I love my country. I will not allow it as a failed state or a narco state.