Duterte says health issues manageable, resumes jabs at rivals
TAGUM CITY, Davao del Norte — Days after a migraine attack forced him to shut up, presidential aspirant Rodrigo Duterte is at it again — lashing out at his rivals.
The standard-bearer of the Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino-Laban ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) was beaming at his campaign rally here on Saturday as he brushed aside concerns about his health, just days after a migraine attack forced him to abruptly cancel a speaking engagement before medical professionals in Manila.
Duterte was even cracking jokes about his reported illnesses and his sickly appearance on television during his proclamation rally in Tondo, Manila, last Tuesday.
“The truth was that a cop had stepped on my toes,” Duterte said, eliciting guffaws from the thousands of supporters from Tagum, Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley and even from Davao City who poured to the sprawling new city hall complex in Apokon village around 5:45 p.m.
Duterte told the crowd his health condition was nothing to worry about. The mayor then took a swipe at Liberal Party standard-bearer Mar Roxas for allegedly saying his frail gait in recent public appearances was the result of a “hypertension attack.”
“Ï had a bronchial infection. My detractors thought I was dying,” the mayor said, eliciting another round of laughter from the crowd.
Duterte has been saying he has nothing to hide about his state of health and has even said he would reveal his medical records “if Roxas would show to the public he is circumcised.” Roxas was the first to challenge him to reveal his medical records.
Duterte also admitted his spinal problem caused by a motorcycle accident some 10 years ago.
Of Vice President Jejomar Binay, Duterte said: “He is healthy because he has ample exercise. I said, ‘how can you not have enough exercise when you’ve been counting billions of pesos in five years?”
Then turning serious, Duterte spelled out to the attendees his platform on eradicating drugs, criminality and ending corruption in government.
“Gitagaan nako akong kaugalingon (I gave myself) a very limited time of three to six months. If I say I would do something, I will surely do it. If I say (crimes) should stop, it should do,” stressed the mayor.
Among the four candidates, Duterte said only he and Binay were competent in fighting drugs and criminality.
“But I can also talk about corruption. This other candidate, however, has a baggage,” Duterte said, apparently referring to Binay who has been hounded by corruption allegations when he was still mayor of Makati.
As to Roxas and Senador Grace Poe, Duterte said: “Sus, Ginoo (My God).”
Duterte also accused Roxas of allegedly receiving campaign contributions from big mining businesses in Mindanao, and putting his interest first before the country’s, citing a newspaper column detailing the alleged impropriety.
“I thought Roxas is a billionaire’s son? His mother is an Araneta. Why enter such transactions? Is that Daang Matuwid (Straight Path)?”
In his speech that ran for over an hour, Duterte appeared very emphatic. At one point, he even sauntered to a corner and touched a flag to stress a point.
A light rain prompted Duterte to end his speech and hastily raise the hands of local allies in PDP-Laban in Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley.
Also present during the proclamation rally was Sen. Aqulino “Koko” Pimentel III, son of PDP-Laban founder, former Sen. Aqulino “Nene” Pimentel Jr.
He said his running was spurred by the various irregularities he had observed and experienced in government and in Filipino society.
If elected, Duterte said he would look after the welfare of the police and soldiers by doubling their salaries so they would not be tempted by corruption. He also pledged to increase
teachers’salaries, saying his mother used to be a school teacher.
The mayor vowed to empower and uplift the lives of the indigenous peoples (IPs) or the “lumads” by providing them easy access to education.
Despite possible backlash from the Catholic Church and other conservatives, Duterte said he would strengthen the government’s family planning program, by giving incentives to couples who would opt to undergo ligation and other birth control methods.
He also laid out his economic platform, such as establishing food terminals and boosting agriculture in the provinces.
Duterte cited the advantages of federalism in decentralizing government and redistributing wealth throughout the country so as not to concentrate development only in Manila.
Before the mammoth rally, that organizers claimed was attended by 20,000 people, Duterte who flew in a helicopter from Davao City, met with local Liberal Party stalwarts in Davao del Norte
at the Tahanan ng Gobernador in capitol grounds, Mankilam village around 4 p.m..
He was accompanied by his running-mate, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, when he paid a courtesy visit to Gov. Rodolfo del Rosario and former Tagum City Mayor Rey Uy.
Duterte’s party then motored to the new city hall complex in Apokon village, shortly before 5 p.m., after having a light meal at the provincial capitol.
There he also raised the hands of local allies such as Tagum Mayor Allan Rellon and congressional candidate and former Transportation Secretary Pantaleon “Bebot”Alvarez. SFM
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