Duterte: I aim to be a harsh leader
DAGUPAN CITY, Pangasinan — It was their last chance to woo voters in the runup to the May 9 elections, so presidential candidates marketed themselves in their concluding statements at the third and final presidential debate held Sunday night, at the University of Pangasinan here.
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said he would be a “harsh” leader, promising to stop corruption, illegal drugs and even “tanim bala (bullet planting)” incidents.
Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, who said that she was back to normal after suffering a bout with cancer, bragged about her academic and professional excellence, which she would tap if she were chosen to lead the nation.
“I have shown you what I am now and I am what I was today and what I am tomorrow,” she said.
Duterte said he had no academic excellence to boast about but added he would do his best to stop corruption, illegal drugs and criminality.
“Stop. Just obey the law… I will be harsh,” he said.
He said it would be up to the public to decide the kind of leader they would like to have on May 9, but Duterte urged people to “choose the one who can make it happen.”
“Iyong tanim tanim bala, ihinto niyo iyan [Stop planting bullets] unless you are ready to swallow the bullet. And I will make you do it,” Duterte said, drawing laughter from the audience.
In his closing statement, Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas said there should be more to the country than the viciousness and divisiveness that have marked the campaign.
“People should choose decent leaders and not forget that true change is achieved through hard work, not insults, blame, or sound bites,” Roxas said.
“This is what the election has come down to: the talkers versus the doers. Those who bring out the best in us, and those who bring out the worst in us,” he said.
He called on voters to prove on May 9 that there are more Filipinos “who are decent, who are good, and who tread the straight path.”
Sen. Grace Poe, in her closing speech, hammered on her message of a caring, compassionate government.
Addressing her statement to Jessa, the young girl from a poor family who could hardly provide for the food and education she needed, Poe said that as a mother, she could not bear it if millions of children were not able to eat and if the funds supposed for the medication of the sick among the poor went to the pockets of corrupt officials.
“The government needs more women,” Poe said. “The country needs love, care, and protection.”
“Let us work together for a future and a country we can be proud of, a country where not only a few would be rich and happy, where all of us will be united, whether you are white, red, yellow or whatever color you are,” she said.
Vice President Jejomar Binay, in his closing statement, lamented that he had been the target of corruption accusations, and that his foes played deaf and blind to his explanations.
Binay boasted of his experience in public service, saying that he had long proved what he could do while his rivals were just making promises that they likely got from their advisers.
“What’s important is that the president would have the capacity to fulfill what he promised, would have the track record,” he said. SFM
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