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I will be a dictator vs bad guys–Duterte

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I will be a dictator vs bad guys–Duterte

Presidential frontrunner and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte attends a press conference after he cast his vote in Davao City, on the southern island of Mindanao on May 9, 2016. Voting was underway in the Philippines on May 9 to elect a new president, with anti-establishment firebrand Rodrigo Duterte the shock favourite after an incendiary campaign in which he vowed to butcher criminals. / AFP PHOTO / NOEL CELIS

Presidential frontrunner and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte attends a press conference after he cast his vote in Davao City, on the southern island of Mindanao on May 9, 2016. Voting was underway in the Philippines on May 9 to elect a new president, with anti-establishment firebrand Rodrigo Duterte the shock favourite after an incendiary campaign in which he vowed to butcher criminals. / AFP PHOTO / NOEL CELIS

DAVAO City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, the presumptive winner of the presidential election, declared on Monday night that his presidency would be a dictatorship, but one that was against society’s bad elements.

“Dictatorship? I will be a dictator against all bad guys, evil people, criminals, drug lords. It will be a harsh condition for them,” Duterte said in Davao City on Monday midnight.

The Davao mayor has earned an international reputation as “punisher” and “mass murder advocate” for his strong pronouncements against criminals, and for his pledge to kill criminals and ignore due process.

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Duterte called the anticrime drive that he planned to complete in three to six months as a “solemn commitment.” He said not even the United Nations could stop him from doing what he wanted.

“I have to take care of the country. Of course, I will listen to human rights… but you cannot deter me, not even the United Nations,” he said.

Cabinet members

Duterte is now drawing up a list of potential Cabinet members from his core team as well as soliciting suggestions for new names.

The goal is to build a “powerhouse of experienced and competent” leaders to run the next administration, Inquirer sources said.

Duterte said Jesus Dureza, who once served as press secretary and spokesperson of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, was capable of handling the peace process in Mindanao.

“(Dureza) has been involved in the peace process since the time of President Ramos. He knows everything about it,” he told reporters.

Dureza, a classmate of Duterte at Ateneo de Davao, has been the butt of jokes in his campaign sorties, describing him as his studious classmate in high school, his exact opposite.

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He also named another former classmate as a possible member of his Cabinet.

Finance, transportation

Duterte said Carlos Dominguez, an owner of Marco Polo Hotels and a former agriculture secretary, would either go to the Department of Finance or Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).

“We grew up together,” the mayor said of Dominguez, noting that the DOTC is the most corrupt agency in the government. Dominguez is the head of Alcantara & Sons.

Businessman Tomas Alcantara of the Alsons Group, a former trade undersecretary, had likewise been mentioned.

Budget secretary

For the position of budget secretary, one potential contender is Rep. Isidro Ungab, who is finishing his third term as representative of Davao City’s third district.

Ungab chaired the House committee on appropriations and timely passed the national budget during his term. A farmer and businessman, he was a former banker (Northern Mindanao Development Bank) and consultant at the Asian Development Bank.

“Do not be surprised if others are military people,” Duterte said, giving a hint that someone is from the Philippine Navy. “The other one is outside (the government) working.”

Insiders in the Duterte camp are floating the names of former Armed Forces Chief of Staff Hermogenes Esperon Jr. and former Defense Secretary Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro, who both served during the Arroyo administration.

Esperon, a Philippine Military Academy graduate (Class 1974), headed the Army’s 602nd Infantry Brigade in 2000-2001 and led the all-out war against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Mindanao.

Teodoro, who had an unsuccessful presidential run in 2010, was not part of the Duterte campaign group but has been recommended to join the Cabinet, sources said.

A cousin of outgoing President Aquino, Teodoro was mentored by business tycoon Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr. but the two had a falling out. He was a lawmaker representing Tarlac’s first district.

He topped the Philippine bar exams in 1989. He went to Harvard Law School for his Master of Laws and completed it in 1997. He was admitted to the State Bar of New York during the same year.

“Duterte always had great respect for Gibo and had wanted to support Gibo2010,” said one source, who noted that Gibo and Duterte met last week.

The mayor likewise dropped the name of a retired general, Isidro Lapeña, who headed the Davao City Public Safety Command Center.

Other possible members of his Cabinet include those who were visible in his presidential campaign in the past three months.

Executive secretary

Leoncio Evasco Jr., outgoing mayor of Maribojoc in Bohol province, will be “beside him” in Malacañang, Duterte said. Sources in the camp said Duterte might name him executive secretary.

Evasco,  Duterte’s national campaign manager, is a highly trusted ally of the mayor and is described as an excellent manager, one who has the potential to be an executive secretary.

Evasco is a former priest. After a raid on his convent in Catigbian by soldiers in 1974, he joined the underground Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army.

Peter Laviña, spokesperson of Duterte and head of his media team, and the mayor’s legal counsel Salvador Panelo will be his press secretaries.

Duterte also mentioned Butch Ramirez, a former chief of the Philippine Sports Commission.

Post for Cayetano

Duterte said in media interviews that he intended to give the Department of Foreign Affairs or the Department of Justice portfolio to his running mate, Alan Peter Cayetano, after the one-year ban on losing candidates from holding posts elapsed.

In a separate interview, Cayetano said he wanted to be part of the team that would work on Duterte’s legislative agenda.

“I will follow him. If he wants me to take a leadership role, I will accede. But if he wants me to spend time in his transition team and in his presumptive Cabinet, I will accept it,” Cayetano said.

Duterte’s aide de camp, Christopher Go, is also expected to be part of, if not influential, in building the Duterte Cabinet, other sources said.

Transition team

A transition team will be formed to help Duterte select the members of his Cabinet before he holds office in Malacañang, according to Laviña.

Subcommittees that will work on Duterte’s inauguration, policy agenda and overall transition will work in the remaining month before the Davao mayor takes his oath as President on June 30.

“Part of the team’s role is to review policy statements made by the mayor. These will be incorporated in the policies to be implemented in the first 100 days of his [administration],” Laviña told a news briefing.

Before June 30, Duterte’s personal envoys will visit embassies and consular offices in the country to express the mayor’s readiness to cooperate with their respective countries.

Everything remains fluid as Duterte wants more candidates for his Cabinet.

The mayor had been advised to finalize his prospective Cabinet early on when he started leading preelection surveys, but he refused to do so until victory appeared imminent.

“Since Duterte is not renowned for his policy expertise, he will be heavily reliant on his Cabinet appointees for policy choices and decisions. The official proclamation of the new President and Vice President may be a few weeks away, but near-term election risks have been successfully hurdled,” said Citi Philippines economist Jun Trinidad. “Continuity risk now depends on Duterte’s Cabinet appointees.”

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TAGS: Elections 2016, Nation, news, Rodrigo Duterte
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