Duterte starts Myanmar visit by blasting critics of drugs war
NAY PYI TAW, Myanmar – President Rodrigo Duterte started his two-day visit to Myanmar on Sunday by taking a swipe at political opponents criticizing his war on drugs. And he did it during an hour-long speech he delivered in a meeting with the Filipino community here.
Duterte mocked his “enemies,” as he called them, for trying to use the high death toll of the aggressive anti-narcotics campaign against him.
Made fodder for Duterte’s jokes were Vice President Leni Robredo, and Senators Antonio Trillanes and Leila de Lima.
“Mga kalaban ko, gusto akong… Si Leni, apurado masyado maging Presidente,” Duterte said wryly, to howls of laughter from the crowd.
(“My enemies want me to…Leni is rushing to be President, for one.”)
Recently, Robredo brought to attention of the United Nations, through a video, the thousands of “extrajudicial killings” committed since the Duterte administration took power and launched its war on drugs.
Duterte also mocked Trillanes, calling him an “idiot” and a “coward” for a “mutiny” attempt in a Makati City hotel during the Arroyo administration.
“Di naman umabot ng barilan, ni isang putok,” Duterte said.
(“It didn’t even lead to a gunfight. Not one shot was fired.”)
Trillanes has also been a vocal critic of human rights violations under the Duterte administration. He has also accused Duterte of having billions of pesos in various bank accounts.
“Nakita niyo naman behavior. Medyo pareho kay De Lima,” he said, again eliciting laughter from the crowd.
(“You’ve seen his behavior. It’s kind of like De Lima’s.”)
De Lima, when she was still chair of the Commission on Human Rights, started criticizing Duterte for his alleged involvement in the Davao Death Squad when he was still mayor..
She is now detained on illegal drugs charges, largely based on testimonies by convicts in the New Bilibid Prison.
“Sabihin niya political prisoner daw siya. Since when? Since when ako nagpakulong ng opposition diyan?” Duterte said.
(“She’s saying she’s a political prisoner. Since when? When have I had the opposition jailed?”
“That”s the tragedy in our country,” he added. “It was the secretary of justice herself running, trafficking drugs.”
Duterte was referring to the time when De Lima was the justice secretary.
“Kaya yung sinasabing maraming napapatay sa [war on] drugs, totoo yan. (So the talk that so many are getting killed in the war on drugs is true.) I’m not denying to the world,” Duterte said.
He reiterated that his orders to the police were to arrest drug suspects.
“[But if] there is violent resistance and if you think you will die, shoot the idiot,” he said.
Later in the speech, Duterte had this advice for the Filipino community in Myanmar: “The best thing really is, if you want the truth, go home and find out what’s happening in our country. At least makakalakad na kayo (You can go out and walk in the streets)… It will be peaceful. And your children can go out, and your sisters and brothers, and they will be safe.”
That was important to Filipinos in Myanmar, according to Olivia Ramos de Guzman, president of Pilipinas.MM, a Filipino community group here.
Earlier, in an interview conducted by the Malacañang media network, De Guzman said: “Our main concern really is that of our family, making sure that our families are in a safer environment.” /atm/rga
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