Duterte to Aquino: I demand action
Tough-talking Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte was irked by President Aquino’s statement downplaying the “tanim-bala” scam at the airports where unscrupulous airport security personnel allegedly put a bullet or two in the luggage of unsuspecting travelers so they will pay up to avoid charges.
Duterte, who continues to go around the country while denying he will run for president, said Aquino should act to put a stop to the racket rather than dismiss the matter as only a few incidents.
“Mr. President I demand (action). Do not give me statistics that it’s only point zero-zero which means it’s only one case in many. That is not a f*cking answer,” Duterte said in an impromptu speech at a gun show attended by top police officials and retired military officials.
Addressing his remarks to Sen. Alan Cayetano, who was also a guest at the gun show, Duterte said the “price” of being President means taking the law in one’s hands to eliminate drug syndicates.
Cayetano, who is running for vice president, is courting Duterte to team up with him in the coming elections.
But while Duterte said he was behind Cayetano, the mayor said their public appearance at the 23rd Association of Firearms and Ammunition Dealers of the Philippines’ Defense and Sporting Arms Show in SM Megamall Wednesday, did not mean they have formed a tandem.
In a half-hour speech punctuated several times by expletives, Duterte said to end the drug scourge, he would have jailed criminals burned alive, mowed down, or loaded into a ship to be stranded in the Pacific Ocean.
He spoke his mind on a variety of topics, sometimes drawing nervous laughter from the audience like when he cracked a joke about the next President falling down the stairs so Cayetano can assume the post.
While he mostly did not betray a reaction, Cayetano laughed at two instances in Duterte’s rambling speech: when Duterte said Cayetano would kill those involved in illegal drugs and when Duterte said the senator could hope to be pardoned by the next President for his crimes.
The 70-year-old Duterte noted that the tanim-bala scam had been going on for years since he was a city prosecutor for 10 years, claiming that most of the victims were Japanese nationals.
What galls him this time, he said, was that elderly overseas Filipino workers were being victimized, such as Gloria Ortinez, a 56-year-old OFW returning to Hong Kong, who was apprehended at the airport because of a bullet found in her luggage.
Duterte said the OFW could have been jailed abroad had the airport security personnel there found the bullet believed planted at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Reminding the President that he has not asked for anything in exchange for his support in the 2010 elections, Duterte said he now “demanded” action from the President.
“I tell you this now. I demand you do something about this,” Duterte said.
The mayor of the country’s largest city insisted he had not changed his mind about running for president, saying reports that he would be the substitute presidential candidate of the PDP-Laban party was just a “press release” since he has not talked to any party officials.
He maintained he was not inclined to run, citing family reasons, his wife’s medical condition and lack of money.
In a statement, Cayetano said that after the gun show opening, he and Duterte had lunch with family members of some of the 44 Special Action Force troopers who were involved in the blotched operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
Cayetano said they offered their legal services for free.
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