Politics
The Rodrigo Duterte Interview
In March 2015, we asked the then-Mayor of Davao City what he would do if he were President.
IMAGE Jason Quibilan
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Editor's note: Back in March 2015, eight months before the then-Mayor of Davao City announced his bid for the presidency, Esquire Philippines published an in-depth interview that covered, among others: the Davao Death Squad and allegations of extrajudicial killings; his stand on the death penalty and the reformation of criminals; the war he's waged against drugs; what he thinks of the Aquino administration and of his then-rivals for the highest seat in the land; a nd killing a man. Questions were sourced from public personalities—from Bianca Gonzalez to John Lloyd Cruz, from Atom Araullo to Teddy Boy Locsin. We got some answers that merited quite a bit of pause, panic, pandemonium. 

* * *

A REVOLUTIONARY GOVERNMENT

RANDY DAVID: What’s the first thing you would do if you were elected president? Why?

RODRIGO ROA DUTERTE: I’d start with the reformation of the government. Maybe come up with measures to stop the gaps there that would enhance or promote corruption.

RD: How would you stop corruption?

DUTERTE: Well, first of all, I would give a warning. Maybe in my inaugural speech, I would tell the country that I would embark on a reformation for the government. The cry of the people is corruption. So we just have to address corruption squarely. I give myself six months to one year to get the desired reforms, to institute the measures to start with. But if I find it really very hard, if in every corner I have a stumbling block, and people start to mess up the judicial processes and due process and everything, I would tell them to not force my hand. Because if after one year I felt that I am inutile, I will declare a revolutionary government.

"Well, those [people who say that I do not have respect for due process] are the people who have abused it." 

ESQ: A lot of people said you do not have respect for due process.

DUTERTE: Well, those are the people who have abused it. That is pure speculation. Maybe they refer to the killings? That’s all speculative. It’s a myth, actually.

* * *

About the cover: Then-Mayor Rodrigo Duterte photographed exclusively for Esquire Philippines by Jason Quibilan. Assisted by Jonathan Baldonado. Produced by Patricia Barcelon. Photographed on location at Eden Nature Park & Resort, Davao.

ON VIGILANTE GROUPS AND THE DAVAO DEATH SQUAD

ATOM ARAULLO: You are known for your tough stance against criminal elements, and yet vigilante groups and death squads continue to operate in Davao City with impunity. Do you see this as a slap in the face and a failure of law enforcement?

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DUTERTE: No, I don’t think so because that has to be proven. DDS [Davao Death Squad] is non-existent. It started during the NPA days, death squads were organized by the government. And it carried on after Martial Law and after the restoration of democracy by Cory [Aquino], and it has really become just a cliché. For every killing there is no identity of the killer or even of the victim. The easiest excuse would really be DDS. But later on, we were able to solve crimes apparently attributed to this DDS. Well, it takes time to erase that kind of mindset from the people.

"We do admit that there were some encounters before. But we do not just do it like a man is kneeling down and then we shoot them to death."

But I will tell you very frankly that I’m a hardliner. I do not fight revolutionaries. I do not have the means. And besides, revolutions have been there. The NPAs have been 40 years in the making. But crimes, especially drugs, kidnap for ransom, which is within the capability of a mayor if he wants to [help], I do my part. I am not a killer, but I’m a hardliner. I do not condone crime, especially drugs. Time and again, I brought out things like threatening people. I say if you do drugs in the city, you put yourself in the line. This goes for [the people in government] as well as policemen and the military. I say, “Would you rather I kill them without warning?” But maybe a warning may be a deterrent for them not to do the nefarious activities in the city.

Every mayor must have the right to threaten criminals who operate in the city because that is very detrimental to the lives and safety of the people. I’m trying to promote peace in the city and I don’t think we will have this economic level that we’re enjoying now, if it were not for maybe, just maybe in my humble opinion, my threats. We do admit that there were some encounters before. But we do not just do it like a man is kneeling down and then we shoot them to death.

" Whether it’s a myth or its truth, I will not, for the life of me, allow criminals to play with the lives of the people. I play with the lives of the criminals."

ESQ: So how has it been done?

DUTERTE: Well most of them are encounters because people who do drugs really tend to resist justice by refusing to surrender. I mean, look at Manila: there are a lot of killings of civilians there. What about the innocent civilians? What about the kidnapped victims who are never returned to their families? Even after paying for the ransom they just go ahead and kill them. Others maybe just hold-up and kill people. It’s not a matter of “give me your money or your life,” because nowadays they shoot you just the same. Those are the things that can never happen in [Davao]. Whether it’s a myth or its truth, I will not, for the life of me, allow criminals to play with the lives of the people. I play with the lives of the criminals.

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"KILLING CRIMINALS IS NOT NEW TO ME"

BIANCA GONZALEZ: What rule implemented in Davao will work wonders if it’s also implemented in the entire country?

DUTERTE: Just enforce the law. That’s what I’ve been telling the people of Davao City. It’s a good day, the sun shines in the east, there’s no problem for us here, we start the day smiling. Just don’t create fucking problems, or I will go after you. And if at all I’d give you a chance to fight, I would rather you fight it out with me, because that would give me an excuse to kill you! Throw away the problem. At least one less idiot out of this world. Killing criminals is not new to me.

"Just don’t create fucking problems, or I will go after you. And if at all I’d give you a chance to fight, I would rather you fight it out with me, because that would give me an excuse to kill you! Throw away the problem. At least one less idiot out of this world. Killing criminals is not new to me."

ESQ: When was your first experience with it?

DUTERTE: There was this kidnapping. I was [mayor for only three months] in 1988. Guys from outside of the city kidnapped this Chinese girl, and held her hostage for about two months before returning her. And they had the gall to go up to the house of the victim and have dinner cooked for them. But I was waiting downstairs. So I came out and I said, “Gobyerno kami,” and they started to pull out their guns, so I mauled them. And I said, “Anybody else who would like to follow, will suffer the same fate.”

* * *


ON THE FIRST TIME HE KILLED A MAN

LOURD DE VEYRA: What’s the most brutal thing you’ve done to anyone?

DUTERTE: Well if brutal in the sense minus the reason… killing a man is really brutal. [Even] if it’s justified, it's still brutal. But if it's not justified, then you just have to contend with karma. I have never in my life killed an innocent person.

ESQ: Do you remember the first time you killed a man?

DUTERTE: Well, when I was young… I was 17. There was a tumultuous fight in the beach. We were young men then and we went to this beach and we were drinking and suddenly there was this… maybe I stabbed somebody to death… something like that.

But like I said, the first time was when I went down from the house and I was already waiting for the kidnappers. [Then there was this breakout] in the Davao Penal Colony, and I was the mayor then and I was also assigned to chairman of the Regional Peace and Order Council. I was appointed by President (Cory) Aquino. I was in church when the people whispered to me that there was a breakout in the penal colony, that’s on the north side. And I had to pursue them up to the boundary of Davao and Agusan. And I saw the child [they were holding hostage] was inconsolable. I offered myself in exchange if they just released the child, and they did. Then everything was arranged, they surrendered and were brought to another prison, this time in the city of Davao.

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"So when I saw a child, too early to die, I lost my senses... And I don’t know how many shots I fired inside, but on one side of the prison, I was the one leading the policemen. And we shot them all, 16. I really don’t know how many shots I fired. I was already high with anger."

And while they were there already in detention facing kidnapping charges, in addition to what they were serving at the penal colony—actually one of the hostage takers was a soldier. Because of [his familiarity with his fellow soldiers], he was allowed in and out [of the compound]. But to everyone’s horror, in one of his trips outside, he got about two M-16s and one M-14, and brought it inside and started to take hostages again. So we had another problem. We were negotiating with them but they forced their way out the next morning and there was a shootout. And unfortunately, an Australian lay minister, a lady, was killed. They allowed the hostages to be brought out, but they refused to surrender.

So when I saw a child, too early to die, I lost my senses. I said you lay down your arms or I will order the attack. And I was the one who gave the orders to shoot to kill. And I don’t know how many shots I fired inside, but on one side of the prison, I was the one leading the policemen. And we shot them all, 16. I really don’t know how many shots I fired. I was already high with anger. Almost two nights and two days without sleep… I cannot remember, I simply blacked out. I said I will win.

I gave them exactly one minute to get out, but they refused. I said one minute or else I will go inside and kill them. How many, I don’t really know.

And luckily we were able to minimize the civilian casualties to two, but I gave the orders that time. There was an investigation, and I was the first witness [to be] called. I said, “Before you start investigating the police, you might want to know my stand.” I said they [the police] did not have anything to do with it, I was the one who gave the orders. And they asked why, and I said they were committing a crime in my presence. They were armed with deadly firearms but I gave them a warning. I gave them exactly one minute to get out, but they refused. I said one minute or else I will go inside and kill them. How many, I don’t really know. But I remember firing my Uzi at that time.

* * *

ON THE DEATH PENALTY AND CRIMINAL REFORMATION

ESQ: Do you believe in the death penalty?

DUTERTE: Yes, in the 11th Congress it was considered. My friend, Joker Arroyo, was spearheading the abolition, and there were a few times I stood in Congress and opposed it. They said there are simply too many [death row] convicts now. And I said if we start to implement the death penalty and we kill 10 people a day, what’s the problem? They were sentenced locally for a crime committed—it must’ve been a serious one—or else they wouldn’t have been on death row.

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ESQ: What if, given our justice system, there are a couple that are innocent?

DUTERTE: I [was] a prosecutor for 10 years. Even during my time, especially for the rebels, when I feel like there is no evidence at all, even if just to detain them for one day, or when I felt that the evidence was fabricated, I myself would just move for the dismissal of the case.

"They said there are simply too many [death row] convicts now. And I said if we start to implement the death penalty and we kill 10 people a day, what’s the problem?"

ESQ: How about the assertion that the death penalty has not been known to be a deterrent to crime around the world?

DUTERTE: It’s not a deterrent, actually. In my book, it’s pay for the crime. I do not really care if you’re deterred or not. But if you’re caught, that’s the retribution. That’s what would assuage society’s conscience, actually. You rape a child, I cannot imagine why you should not also die. Because after all it’s a deterrence. And there are two schools of thought here: [first] the positivist theories where you give them a chance for reformation... I tell you, in the 10 years that I [was] a prosecutor, I’ve yet to see a criminal really reform.

I tell you, in the 10 years that I [was] a prosecutor, I’ve yet to see a criminal really reform.

ESQ: So you’ve never seen a reformed criminal?

DUTERTE: Not yet. The recalcitrant is the sexual offender, just like in America. You release them and when they are out, they do rape again. Why? Because they want to go back to jail. Because they are lost outside. Karamihan kasi wala nang [pupuntahan] eh, so they would rather go back. Diyan libre kain, libre tulog. Putang ina niya.

ESQ: Jail is not a nice place.

DUTERTE: Well, they learn to enjoy it actually.

* * *

ON METING OUT PUNISHMENT

ESQ: Are you a religious man?

DUTERTE: I am not into religion, but I can assure you I am a Christian and I have a deep, abiding faith in God. I believe that everything here is controlled by a universal mind, whether its really God, or Diyos, that there is someone there with a universal mind who understands us. But there are many things I would like to ask God. Like, “If you are God, why don’t you just kill Satan? Or allow me to kill the agent when I find him? If you are God, why create evil?”

"During our generation, there was a lot of mga rape na, pero alam mo, mga magagandang babae naman, at talagang babae na. But with the advent of drugs, they are raping even the babies in the cradles."

ESQ: What is the most evil thing you’ve ever witnessed?

DUTERTE: Those crimes when the victims are children. Raping a 16-month-old baby. That’s what happened in Manila. That’s the problem with drugs. During our generation, there was a lot of mga rape na, pero alam mo, mga magagandang babae naman, at talagang babae na. But with the advent of drugs, they are raping even the babies in the cradles. Cradle snatchers, literally.

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ESQ: Given a crime like that, would a quick death be enough to assuage a society’s conscience?

DUTERTE: I will do it for pleasure. To assuage my conscience.

"If you are committing a crime in my presence holding an innocent person, I will simply shoot you."

ESQ: That’s a quick death?

DUTERTE: Always. That’s why I told every criminal, choose your [fate]. And maybe if you want a firearm also, I’ll throw you one, lumaban ka na lang, para patas. Dito sa Davao, I don’t believe in that shit of negotiating with a criminal. I do not believe in calling the radio stations, the TV networks, and allowing the idiot to make his last will public. I won’t allow that. And if you’re a hostage-taker in the city, you better kill the hostage because when I come, I will [only] count to three. I do not negotiate. I do not call for psychologists; it’s a waste of time. If you are committing a crime in my presence holding an innocent person, I will simply shoot you.

* * *


THE ALSA MASA

TEDDY BOY LOCSIN: Tell us about Alsa Masa. What part did you play in the context of Alsa Masa? There are stories that people dropped from the sky. Did anyone actually drop from the sky at that time?

DUTERTE: Ganito yun, Alsa Masa was a creation actually of the military. You have to credit that to Lt. Col. Franco Calida and Lt. Col. Jesus Magno. (Both former Metrodiscom chiefs in the ‘80s —ed.) And they were able to martial the anti-communists. Dumating yung panahon na ang labanan na was the civilians, the vigilantes created that. I have not seen [people dropping from the sky] but I’ve heard stories about criminals planting marijuana by the hectares and falling down from the skies.

ESQ: From helicopters I presume?

DUTERTE: I guess that’s the best equipment you would use if you were to throw somebody overboard.

ESQ: What part did you play in the context of Alsa Masa?

DUTERTE: The leaders of Alsa Masa were against me, actually. I was rumored to be a leftist. Of which I am because anak naman ako ng mahirap eh. Ngayon ang part ko was really just to strike a happy balance between the excesses of Alsa Masa also and sa gobyerno. Anak na ako ng mahirap eh so I could hardly relate my sentiments with the ruling elite. So I was pretty much almost in the middle. I could call the attention of the police, because I was a prosecutor then and say these things should not be allowed. So that was very fair to everybody.

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THE BANGSAMORO LAW

ESQ: What is your opinion on the Bangsamoro law? In the context of after what happened after Mamasapano?

DUTERTE: May mga abogado that we have on these misgivings, but it can buy us peace. And maybe move on to some other structures later on, not only in Bangsamoro but sa Sangsa Tausug. Ito kasing Bangsamoro is the Iranon, Maguindanao and Maranao. But you cannot combine them with the Tausug, Yakan, pati Samar. It’s a different tribal Muslim nation. I’ll give you an example. In the Middle East, they’re all Arabs, they’re all Muslims but they are all [fighting] with each other. You know when (Nur) Misuari was made the top honcho, suddenly but with deliberate action, the Maguindanao, Maranao, Iranon side, nag-peel off sila. It was not for any other reason, they just could not work together. Ang problema niyan di nila maintintindihan, di naman sila nagtanong ng taga Mindanao, “Pwede ba ito?” The dream of having one leader for all the Muslim community [was put to a halt].

ESQ: But you said as a lawyer there are misgivings?

DUTERTE: Of course the extension is like creating a new territory that only Congress can do, and upon the authority of the Constitution.

* * *

THE MAMASAPANO ENCOUNTER

ESQ: If you were in charge of that operation to capture Marwan (AKA Zulkifli Abdhir), how would you have handled it?

DUTERTE: I [do not have] a military mind. I would say that I would demand first, but maybe already surround the place but demand first that they surrender. I would tell them not to provide sanctuary for a terrorist that is wanted by almost all nations. There has to be a day for reckoning for that because—well, I appreciate President (Noynoy) Aquino, who said that somehow [he’s] responsible, being the president. So stop crucifying him and let us go into the facts. Ito lang naman kay presidente, simply honest enough to say ako ang presidente, eventually akin talaga yan, I will live to regret this day. But actually pagka nag-ganun na ang presidente, nakapagkumbaba na, let’s stop there and look at the facts na.

"I appreciate President (Noynoy) Aquino, who said that somehow [he’s] responsible, being the president. So stop crucifying him and let us go into the facts."

ESQ: I think the thing that disturbs many people is the supposed involvement of Alan Purisima.

DUTERTE: Well that’s a bone of contention really whether he was an active player or a passive listener, but he gave the ‘wag mo na paalamin yun sa dalawa.’

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* * *.

ON BEING A POLITICIAN

ESQ: Do you like being a politician? Because you come from humble beginnings but you have deal with the ruling elite…

DUTERTE: Alam nila yan. I’ve always stated my case very clearly. I always side with the people.

ESQ: So you have no compunctions about…

DUTERTE: Being frank and direct? Yes, I tell them straight. I do not ask. The poor people need a mayor badly. The ruling elite doesn’t need a mayor; they can take care of their own.

"I cannot just sit on my ass there and listen to someone. That’s not my style. If you want to make a difference in the lives of people, you have to be a mayor."

ESQ: How would you describe your stint in Congress?

DUTERTE: I was a member of the committee of the board. Well committee of the bored—it was really boredom.

ESQ: The legislative does not appeal to you?

DUTERTE: I cannot just sit on my ass there and listen to someone. That’s not my style. If you want to make a difference in the lives of people, you have to be a mayor.

* * *

ON HIS RIVALS FOR THE PRESIDENCY

TLJ: What do you think of Jojo Binay for president at 2016?

DUTERTE: Well it’s anybody’s game. There are also serious charges levered against him. That he has to contend with. But I don’t want to be judgmental. He’s good. He’s a lawyer, a mayor.

TLJ: How about Grace Poe? Is lack of experience a disadvantage given she has no experience in stealing lying and killing? Deng Xiao Ping said that Lee Kwan Yu had plenty to teach him when he became mayor of Shanghai. Otherwise, being head of the country is a totally different experience altogether. If experience counts so much why don’t we bring back re-elections for office of the president?

DUTERTE: Well, she can always surround herself with people who have the experience and the expertise. I don’t want to pass judgment. (Grace) Poe, (Jojo) Binay, Mar Roxas, and Chiz (Escudero), they could all make good presidents.

"I don’t want to pass judgment. (Grace) Poe, (Jojo) Binay, Mar Roxas, and Chiz (Escudero), they could all make good presidents."

ESQ: Can anyone really prepare to be president? Isn’t that an on the job experience after all?

DUTERTE: There are times kasi ganun eh (snaps). Of course I am not trying to say that they would not make good presidents. But one advantage that I can think of [for people with experience] is that they can really decide in that [precise] moment. You ask me a question and I can give you my decision. If you would tell me that something is brewing there, I will say, “This is it.”

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"...FAR FROM THE MADDENING CROWD OF WAR"

ESQ: How is the drug problem in Davao?

DUTERTE: No big drug dealers dito. Kasi ganito yan eh, kung drug dealer ka—I will just mention that I mean no harm—but do not stay here because I cannot sleep at night thinking that maybe the following day, you might do your thing. You put me in suspense, wala ako ganang kumain kasi maghihintay pa ako kung kelan ka hihirit. Mas mabuti na lang siguro na umalis ka na lang dito para makatulog ako ng mahimbing, matanda na naman ako. So umalis na lang kayo, mabuti pa. I do not want to see criminals walking in the streets. I want to see law-abiding citizens enjoying the cool air of the night walking around. Ayokong nandiyan, magdududa ako, eh.

"I do not want to see criminals walking in the streets. I want to see law-abiding citizens enjoying the cool air of the night walking around."

ESQ: There was an urban myth about you when you first assumed office. That you called all the known drug dealers into your office and you offered them some amount of money. And you said, by tomorrow you should leave. If not, you will be dead.

DUTERTE: No, they should just leave, I said. Sabi ko mag-iwas kayo ng sakit ng ulo. Wag ka na magpipilit dito. Spare me the sleepless nights. Sa Pilipinas hindi na natatakot sa mga pulis ang mga yan. Kasi dito sa Pilipinas, wala nang [takot sa] military at pulis. Walang disiplina talaga. Pag mayor na ang nagsabi “Huminto ka,” huminto ka. Pag ako, pag sinabi ko huminto ka, huminto ka. I have about one million eight thousand [people] in Davao. Marami nagpuntahan dito because of the trouble in peripheral provinces. So nandito ‘yan sila, maybe for safety… far from the maddening crowd of war. Everybody needs to go to schools, I need funds for teachers, I have to clean the city, it’s the biggest one in the Philippines. I get to deliver medicine. If you can just imagine how many people who get sick today that need the intervention of the governmentt. Tapos i-istorbohin mo? Pag ganun, ginagawa mo akong gago. Do not do that. Kasi ayoko magmukhang gago.

* * *

ON TERM LIMITS AND POLITICAL DYNASTIES

LAV DIAZ: Do you consider yourself a fascist?

DUTERTE: No. I am a lawyer. I believe in due process, I believe in the bill of rights. Government is really, really powerful, it has all the powers in its hands. But if there is a wall there that will limit the powers of government, it is really the bill of rights. Dito, acrimonious masyado ang politics. Words lang. Wala kaming patayan dito. Fascism is when you use the states as one big garrison. I will not do that because I cannot do it. I am just saying that in my style of governance, it’s a little bit different than the others. Pag nagbigay ako ng warning, pakinggan mo naman. I have a city to protect, innocent lives. The city is now progressing, and people need jobs.

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"Government is really, really powerful, it has all the powers in its hands. But if there is a wall there that will limit the powers of government, it is really the bill of rights."

ESQ: Do you favor term limits?

DUTERTE: Well pag ginusto ka ng tao… sa bagay ako I’m ready to retire actually. As a matter of fact, after this, I’m thinking of retiring and asking my daughter [Sara] to run for mayor again. Not because we want to perpetuate a dynasty. I have to consider Muslims, and half of my grandchildren are Christians… so whether you like it or not we remain to be fundamentally feudal. Si [Sara] nanggaling naman diyan.

ESQ: For the presidential office you believe six years is enough?

DUTERTE: Ako I am in favor of 4-4 or 6-6. Kulang eh. Ako as mayor I could not have implemented most of what you see now if two terms lang ako. I’m lucky or, some guys here are lucky, na mayor ako for 21 years.

"[The anti-dynasty law] is not democratic. The mind of my brother is not my mind."

ESQ: Let’s talk about the anti-dynasty law…

DUTERTE: It’s not democratic. The mind of my brother is not my mind. He’s a human being, he has another set of rules, dignity… bakit mo pigilan? Sa America nga it’s another Bush leading eh, si Jeb. Bahala na ang tao diyan.

* * *

 

ON DIVORCE, ABORTION, THE RH LAW

ESQ: What are your thoughts on divorce?

DUTERTE: Actually, hirap ako with my first marriage, it was annulled. I have another wife [now]. Ako, having gone through [that], rather than eternally quarrel in front of our children, even inflicting violence upon each other, in the end it will be not good. As long as the children are assured, lalo na yung sa eskwela, I think as long as the interest of the children are well protected, it will be a very stringent call for everybody.

"Well, ano eh, the weaker sex eh. Because ang babae naman kasi medyo limitado ang horizon talaga. Kaya mas pabor ako sa alimony— serves you right for marrying the wrong girl."

ESQ: The family code is very, very biased towards the mother. Are you in favor of that?

DUTERTE: Well, ano eh, the weaker sex eh. Because ang babae naman kasi medyo limitado ang horizon talaga. Kaya mas pabor ako sa alimony— serves you right for marrying the wrong girl.

ESQ: Reproductive health?

DUTERTE: Yes, ako nagpapractice ako dito despite of the church. Pero hindi lahat. If you are 35-40 years old and you have ten children talagang I will give you five thousand pesos magpa-ligate ka. Or I will distribute pills.

ESQ: And the more touchy subject, abortion.

DUTERTE: Ah, no, no. Hindi ako pwede diyan. [Even if rape victim] ano ba kasalanan ng bata? Why do you have to terminate a life already there inside the womb of the mother just because the father is a rapist?

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* * *

ON EXTRA-CONSTITUTIONAL POWERS

RD: What new approach would you introduce to end mass poverty in our country once and for all?

DUTERTE: [If I were Grace Poe, Mar Roxas, (Jojo) Binay or Chiz (Escudero),] I would say that you cannot go into reformation here with the existing structure. I think I would need extra constitutional powers, then I can start with the pera, I will start with fixing the government, and then itong poverty. You have to educate the children. Provide them some [money] but they have to keep busy. But the money that you give for them to start a business must not also be equated to subsistence, kasi mauubos.

"Basta, I would tell everybody that let us deal in good faith. Kapag kasi niloloko mo ako, papasok ka ng isang container ng shabu, ipapasok kita doon sa container, sindihan ko yung shabu kasama ka dun."

ESQ: What kind of extra constitutional powers would you need?

DUTERTE: I will declare a revolutionary government. And close congress, and sell all government corporations that are connected with money-making. I will maybe privatize, but same employees. And because poverty is equated with corruption, you’ll just have to first attack corruption before you address poverty.

ESQ: You sound a little more like Fidel Castro…

DUTERTE: But I’m not presenting myself as a president. I’m just giving the candidates advice. Let’s start with fixing the government and increasing the salaries of teachers, policemen, military. And lets see in 2025… I would do away with the collection of income taxes. Dito sa collection of taxes, gross tayo. Wala na masyado inspection. Basta, I would tell everybody that let us deal in good faith. Kapag kasi niloloko mo ako, papasok ka ng isang container ng shabu, ipapasok kita doon sa container, sindihan ko yung shabu kasama ka dun. Kasi naglolokohan lang pala tayo eh. Sabi ko wag mo ako lokohin.

* * *

THE DUTERTE LEGACY

ESQ: How would you like to be remembered?

DUTERTE: I do not want anybody to remember me. When I die, I am finished. No remembrances, no nothing. When I am cremated: no mass, no prayers, just burn me. Period. Let me rest through eternity.

ESQ: Given the public service that you served shouldn’t you be remembered?

DUTERTE: No, I am paid do to that. Did you know I do not accept rewards? Itong no smoking [rule], I’m supposed to go to Singapore to accept an award or something. And no noise pollution, so I have a very quiet city. But I am paid to do that, so you do not have to remember me. Siguro maalala ako ng anak ko, but other than them okay lang. Even my girls, I do not want them to remember me because I want to go to heaven undisturbed, not burdened with memories. Forget me.

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* * *


Dealing with the MILF

JOHN LLOYD CRUZ: How would you deal with the MILF given the current situation?

DUTERTE: If we continue with this war, nobody wins. Puro Pilipino tayo. Malay race tayo lahat, iba-iba lang relihiyon natin. But at the end of the day, if we continue fighting nobody loses and nobody wins. Just like any other war, we should end this by talking. So why should we wait 15 years from now? We should do the talking now! We should unite, and I’m sure we can live in this country comfortably if we just understand each other.

ESQ: Do you feel that the government is soft on the MILF?

DUTERTE: Not really, I would say they’re doing it correctly. Only problem is there are certain protocols that are not strictly followed on either side. Maybe we can talk more seriously and draw clear parameters. Or, you can surrender them and let us know and we can talk about how we can take them into custody without unnecessary bloodshed.

"If we continue with this war, nobody wins. Puro Pilipino tayo. Malay race tayo lahat, iba-iba lang relihiyon natin."

ESQ: So no more bloodshed?

DUTERTE: Kagaya nung nangyari ngayon, hindi inayos ng husto eh. I think government should have demanded for the release, then after that they can go to the next phase. The MILF denies it, it’s not their territory daw. But the question is why were they there? Akala rin siguro nila na inaatake sila.

ESQ: What’s your feel of Chairman Mohagher Iqbal?

DUTERTE: I think, dealing in good faith, if they really want peace, they have suffered enough both the government and the rebel team. Nobody wins even if you kill 1000 of them, at the end of the day there will always be rebels against them unless they find a peaceful solution. Everything has to end with talks. So let us talk.

This piece originally appeared in our March 2015 issue.

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