By Genalyn Kabiling
The government’s campaign against drugs and corruption may be a difficult task but President Duterte has no regrets in his governance in the past two years.
Appearing on government television Tuesday, the President said he would be unforgiving in the fight against drugs and would continue to weed out corruption in government.
“I’m trying to govern the way I promised,” Duterte said during an interview with Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo in Malacañang.
Asked if he has regrets as president, Duterte said: “Wala. Wala. Congress has a… Well, not all but appropriately extended the help. Meron silang mga views na nirerespeto ko [None. Congress has well not all but appropriately extended the help. They have their views that I respect].”
Duterte said he was determined to fulfill his campaign promises to the people, including resolving the country’s drug problem even though it was “really hard fight.” So far, he cited that crime incidents have dropped amid the government’s law and order campaign.
“Three years left is too short. Ngayon ang gusto ko ngayon kung iyan na lang ang natira — naumpisahan, iyon na lang ang tatapusin ko. [What I want now is I intend to finish what I started],” he said.
“And of course itong, the scourge of drugs. I promised the people talagang tatapusin ko ‘yan. Tatapusin ko ‘yan, maniwala ka [I promised the people I will put an end to that, I will really finish it. Believe me],” he said.
“Sa droga, talagang wala akong pinatawad dito, alam ninyo ‘yan. Basta mag-abot tayo sa isang kanto, ‘yun na ‘yun [On drugs, I will be unforgiving. You know that. If ever we meet in a corner, that’s it],” he added.
Duterte said he was also trying to fight corruption in the bureaucracy, citing the dismissal of several officials in recent months. He also promised to continue to do his job despite the lack of extra perks in office.
“Wala akong extra perks, representation, mga ganun wala. Libre sa akin bahay pati pagkain. Iyon ang akin, nagtatrabaho lang po ako [I have no extra perks, representation. I have free lodging, food. I am just doing my job],” said Duterte, who previously complained of his low salary and long work hours.
Duterte however dismissed allegations that he has become a dictator amid the relentless campaign against illegal drugs. His government has drawn flak here and abroad for alleged extrajudicial killings and other abuses linked to the brutal war on drugs.
“Diktador? Wala man akong ginawa na nagpakulong ako ng tao. Matindi ako sa droga [Dictator? I did not send anyone to prison. But I am stern when it comes to drugs],” he said. “You differentiate from a dictator ‘yung absolute power at saka ‘yung desire ko to protect your children and the country,” he added.
Duterte admitted that he has authorized the policemen and soldiers to kill the suspect if their lives are in danger. He maintained that he would support policemen and soldiers performing their duty in the event they face charges in court.
“Ano pang masabi ninyo sa akin? Nag-abuso ako, kailan? Nagpatay ako ng tao? Marami, kriminal. Eh lumaban eh. Alang-alang ‘yung mga pulis ko pati na mga sundalo ko ang mamata [What else can you say about me? I committed abuses? When? I killed a person? Many, criminals because they resisted. I won’t allow my soldiers and policemen to die],” he said.