Media Interview with President Rodrigo Duterte following his visit to the killed-in-police-operation officers
Bansalan Municipal Hall Lobby, Bansalan, Davao del Sur
09 March 2017

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: I’d be happy to respond to your questions and sadly about this incident.

Who’s gonna ask the first question?

Q: Maayong hapon, Mr. President.

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Good afternoon to everyone, including Governor, Mayor, and to the two Municipal Mayors. Only three?

Q: Mr. President, does it seem like the police officers are somewhat overkilled?

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: No, it’s not an overkill actually it’s a question of honor.

There’s a song ni Sarah Brightman. You want to buy the disc. It’s a question of honor. You know, we fight a war and as the revolutionary ideology would put it, it’s a kind of ideological cannibalism because you devour your own kind. You kill your own brother and sisters in thy name in the altar of a revolution. ‘Yan yung tawag mong lugaw para sa isa’t-isa – sa kapwa Pilipino – lugaw talaga yan. Because it is a war among Filipinos, your countrymen. Kung hindi lang talaga maganda ang nangyari – if I was the asked – it’s really war.

I could always to the Armed Forces and the police use it also but we are governed by rules since we are in government we’re kind of not allowed to do that. I understand at the moment that there an abuse of use. It’s like a trap-murder case, there was a murder case there to be solved and that is why merong pataypapasok talaga ang SOCO or Scene of the Crime Operatives.  They are the ones authorized to investigate. Unfortunately, the people from SOCO got hit.

The SOCO fundamentally is a police organization under the – or agency under the police organization. But they are not combatants, they are not even allowed to — they don’t bother to bring in guns. They usually get in after the encounter, but they were trappedIt was a well-laid trap.

When they got there, they discovered that the case wasn’t true and they got hit. So it included a woman. She’s a Maranao. And she was buried following the rights of the Muslim religion. She was laid to rest within one day. Yung natirang buhay na lang ang naabutan ko.

And, sadly I am sad also for the NPA. I do not want to get angry at them. I lost their… [inaudible]. You don’t do that malice if you see a police patrol there. But when you see a dead person there or there’s a murder case, they are the investigators.

Anyway, you Filipinos must observe the style. I am not condemning, I just feel bad to be honest. I am not condemning, why? They are already dead, I feel guilty when you’re poor and you join the police or military, then you rely on the government.

Q: Sir, good afternoon. Victoria Tulad of GMA 7 – Manila. Sir, what would be the effect of the ambush incident to the peace talks with NPA?

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: The peace talks is not yet resumed. It’s totally absent. So in the meantime, I would just also ask the Armed Forces and the police, just go ahead and wage a war against them. Anything goes and I will allow the police and the military this time to use all available assets. Use them. You’ve already saw some of them, I asked them to show it to the public. Use them. Use the rockets. If there’s more, sorry.

Q: Sir, with this latest incident, is the all-out war against them with their continuous violation sa human rights effective?

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: You know, right at the start of my administration. I have already talked to them from the start. Nur Misuari agreed when I talked to him. I talked to MILF and they agreed to continue the peace talks without armed conflict.

Then I went to the Communists, initially there was these parameters lang, that’s what I don’t like. Yung ceasefire ng ceasefire na hanggang salita lang. So what happened? They lifted the ceasefire effective February 10 but they killed my policemen and militarymen on February 4.

Wala tayo… mas mabuti na ‘yung ganyan, I feel bad for them because the Filipino would never want them in power. I would insist on that theory. Do you guys want it? People at the back, do you want it? [People respond: Hindi] You better take a look at your routine that you had to kill people from the other camp. Of all the people, a woman just went there to investigate. Where is honor there? I am not angry at them, I just feel bad at them because it might cause more chaos and the conflict would be longer than 50 years.

So we extend it to another 50 years pero never will have the… Never would have the chance really sila to gain power. People doesn’t want it. Yung gusto nila yung tao lang nila ang panalo. You better choose – us? You got it wrong – but you got it wrong.  We have had our faults plenty of it actually, but we try to correct it along the way. But there is injustice there.

Q: Sir, good afternoon. Marie Tanjaue, PTV 4. What would be your message that you want to say to the public in this kind of situation?

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: To whom? To the Filipinos? Well, I’m sorry that this gory incident had to happen. But I can assure everybody that the Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police would respond. This time I’m using everything. I have encouraged the police to call in the air assets. We have new jets. Make use of the rockets. Plantsahin niyo lang yung bomba diyan. [applause, laughter] NPA, look at the public’s reaction. You don’t trust us. All we had to do is to talk for the better, and to think we are brothers and sisters. Eh nilulugaw na tayo. Who even wants death? How about you, do you want death? [Response: No.]

Anything else?

Q: What happened to Gina Lopez?

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Why? What happened to her? [laughter] I don’t know. She’s up at the Commission on Appointments. Si Yasay was taken out allegedly for lying about his citizenship. I don’t know what happened.

Yasay and I were roommates. But sometime, when martial law was declared, he and Ernesto Maceda disappeared because they were in the list of wanted… The police showed it. 

The next thing I knew, they surfaced in America. Maybe because they were given temporary asylum. And of course a travel document for them to travel, to other parts of the world but they were avoiding Philippines because they were wanted here.

After the martial law years, they came back. I don’t know really what happened along the way. But definitely, I can say that Yasay was there not of his own choice to live in America but rather, they were seeking asylum. They were forced to live in America in order for them not to go to jail.

Q: [inaudible]

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: They have to choose. As for me, I’m ready for an all-out war, another 50 years, I have lots of soldiers and policemen, eh ‘di sige. That’s what I can say, we have to fight.

So what you receive, you give also. As simple as that.

Any questions? Pagkabarato ninyo o ha.

Q: Sir, regarding po sa Naga Leaks which became viral, diba tinuturo ang… [inaudible]

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: No, no, no, no. It will die. And I won the presidency in the first place… Why would I bother myself with that kind of garbage? It’s not my job, and even when I was mayor vis-à-vis with my political opponents. I never really used black propaganda. 

These are the kinds of critics that we have to pass by and maybe some supporters of mine are offended. But I’m beyond pain politically because I don’t have any other ambitions. Di na ko kadagan, I am focused on my work. I’m trying my best to strengthen government, stop corruption, catch the tax evaders… Ano pa nga yun? I appointed the [inaudible], the attorney says tax evasion, but I think it’s falsification.

 But if it was part of a tax evasion case, I just had to agree   so his lawyers because tax cases can be compromised. You can settle your issues with tax liability. Those taxes that you forgot to pay, whether it is intentional or not, you can settle that. The law says you can still settle that; it can can be compromised. I’ll forget about that but what the person said was 1.5-billion [inaudible], I’ll agree but you have to pay twice. Anyway, if somebody else’s would pursue, somebody else’s office or power would pursue against him, I can always pardon him. But here’s the wrong part, he said that he’ll pay 1.5 [million], may [inaudible], I am not kidding. So he has to give [inaudible], as long as he’ll pay 3 million. He’ll give it to the Secretary of Health to fund it for Jolo. Wh millions in Jolo? We have to fix the hospital there which is worth 1.5 million.

And that hospital in Manila… [What’s the name of that hospital there?] Mary Johnston? The one in Tondo? [Is that the name of the hospital? Mary Johnston?] Ah Mary Johnston. One billion. So 3 billion, okay na.

The Mayor there said, kasi matagal na siya dun at matagal na ring nagloloko… But I believe he’s been doing it all the time. He sent us the case of tax evasion. All he has to do is to go to Dominguez, Faeldon and Dulay sa BIR. ‘If those three would agree, [inaudible] do not give it to me, give it directly to the Secretary of Health.

Have the hospital in Basilan completed sa Jolo, refurbish, then you give the another one billion sa Mary Johnston Hospital in Tondo. Okay na ko. Okay na? O okay gyud na.

That would be my agreement, let’s forget about those stamps. We’ll stick on the tax evasion cases but you have to pay twice.

He is offering 1.5. My counter offer is double it to 3. Give the money to the hospitals that I have mentioned. Okay?