Duterte: I will have criminals killed
“I WILL have criminals killed and I don’t like drugs. Get out of here if you’re into drugs.”
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte went to the heart of one of Metro Manila’s toughest slum districts to deliver his no-nonsense anticrime drive at the official start of the campaign period for the May presidential election.
Duterte, standard-bearer of Partido Demokratiko Pilipinas-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), along with independent vice presidential candidate Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, arrived shortly after midnight Tuesday at the corner of Lavezares and Delpan streets at Barangay 286 in Binondo, Manila.
Around 6,000 residents crammed the area as Duterte stepped off his vehicle. He was mobbed by people who took selfies with him. He went into the crowd, kissing some women, chatting with them, repeating the central theme of his campaign—getting rid of drug pushers and criminals. He later had breakfast of noodles, fried eggs and bread before departing at 3 a.m.
The predawn campaign was part of the tandem’s “kalye serye” style, patterned after a segment of a noontime show that brought the Aldub love team to local viewers.
Later in the evening, Duterte and Cayetano stood before a crowd of thousands in Tondo, on Morga and Zamora streets, elaborating on his platform to ease poverty, in a program that was beamed to Davao and Bacolod cities.
“We are here because we are for Duterte,” said Pregy Cortez. “I want to see whether he really looks tough and scary,” Cortez said, alluding to the “Dirty Harry” image the Davao mayor projected.
Unlike other candidates, there was no coordination with the local police, according to officials of Manila Police District. The Barangay 286 chair, Abet Loresto, said he was informed of the duo’s visit only at noon on Monday.
The unexpected arrival surprised and entertained the neighborhood and kept many residents awake until Cayetano and Duterte left. They held a dialogue with selected residents who aired their concerns—lack of stable jobs, and financial and health problems.
Duterte did most of the talking while Cayetano stood by his side, occasionally providing context to what his running mate was saying. The mayor repeated his platform against criminality, equality, decentralization, and jobs.
He spelled out his plans while standing in corners, walking toward people, and clinging on to makeshift posts. There were no platforms or sound systems and he approached people as if he was just hanging out with friends.
Like previous engagements, he embraced women of different ages who gladly embraced him back as he swapped jokes with their husbands and fathers. Then Duterte tried to charm the residents as he spoke in their dialect.
The residents, for their part, laughed with Duterte as they narrated how and why they left the provinces.
“I really chose this place because I want to connect with people like you,” he said as he prided about his being a “probinsyano.”
After the dialogue, Cayetano and Duterte went to an eatery and ate with the residents while continuing to field questions about his programs of government.
Duterte even invited them to go to Davao City with him so they could see the difference. After eating, the tandem left with a promise of bringing real change to the country should they win in the polls.
Lito Banayo, one of the political strategists of Duterte, said the mayor would introduce new issues during the campaign period.
“From a punisher to a protector, that is the message Duterte wants to convey to the people of Tondo,” Banayo told the Inquirer. Banayo acknowledged that Duterte had received the lowest rating in the latest Pulse Survey of respondents belonging to Class E.
“That’s another reason we chose Tondo, we want the poor to know that he will protect and help them,” Banayo said.
Except for former Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo and Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, no other big names were at the rally.
Candidates for senator present in Tondo were former Interior Secretary Raffy Alunan, lawyer Levito Baligod, Dionisio Santiago, Dante Liban and Sandra Cam.
In Zamboanga City, more than 100 vehicles joined a motorcade Tuesday in support of Duterte and Cayetano.
Retired Judge Mike Muin of the local PDP-Laban chapter told the Inquirer that “these are all volunteers, no campaign funds involved and the support is very overwhelming and strong.”
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines Zamboanga president, Emil Aquino, said “it was a trial balloon” and that they did not expect that many supporters would show up.
“We just posted it on Facebook and we didn’t expect these numbers to come out and join us in the motorcade,” he said.
Walid Amil of Doctors for Duterte said: “We spent our own money. All the doctors believe in Duterte, he walks the talk. No promises but you see real action, Davao is one example.”
Aside from the 150 vehicles that joined, more than a hundred motorbikes participated in the motorcade that started on Nuñez Street and ended on Paseo del Mar. With a report from Julie Alipala, Inquirer Mindanao
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