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Duterte: I don’t need presidency, but I have no regrets

/ 03:03 PM December 14, 2016
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte greets members of the Filipino community as he arrives in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh on December 13, 2016.  Duterte is on a two-day state visit to Cambodia. / AFP PHOTO / TANG CHHIN SOTHY

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte greets members of the Filipino community as he arrives in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh on December 13, 2016.
Duterte is on a two-day state visit to Cambodia. / AFP PHOTO / TANG CHHIN SOTHY

Phnom Penh— Barely six months into office, President Duterte has had a realization. He does not need the presidency.

Speaking before some 1,000 Filipinos in Cambodia who came to see him, the 71-year-old chief executive said he should just be taking it easy at his age, as he alluded once more to a supposed plot to unseat him.

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But he has no regrets about seeking the post, he said.

“It’s not a question of having regrets, none at all because I entered into this. And then you will say I am happy, are you happy? I’ll answer this. I do not need it. I realize now that I do not need it this time of my life,” said Mr. Duterte.

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But he still takes pleasure in his accomplishments as chief executive, knowing he has done the right thing, he said.

“[At] the end of the day, that is where is find consolation, that I had done the job, and it is the right thing,” he said.

He does not need “confirmation,” he stressed, before adding that the “yellows,” an apparent reference to the Liberal Party members, want him out of his post because they cannot accept defeat.

But the Reds or the members of the Left would not allow him to be unseated.

“The Left will kill you if you remove me. Because I am Leftist. I am the child of poor parents. I’m the first Left-leaning President. But I am not under or I am not a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines,” he said.

Mr. Duterte also mentioned during his speech that he does not know if he would be around at the end of his six-year term. He had made similar allusions to the idea in previous public statements.

He had also promised to step down early from his post if the Philippines would shift to a federal government and elect a new President.

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The President has been vocal about the downside of his job, making references to the voluminous paperwork he has to go through and saying that his P130,000 salary as chief executive was not enough for two families.

Mr. Duterte, who frequently talks about killing criminals, is facing sustained criticism for the mounting death toll amid the government’s crackdown on the illegal drug trade.

More than 5,000 drug suspects have been killed, either gunned down in police operations or slain by vigilante groups.

Administration officials have denied that the killings were state-sponsored.

The President himself has been attacking those who criticize or express concern about his anti-drug campaign. The United States, the United Nations, and the European Union have been among the high-profile targets of his ire. JE

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TAGS: Cambodia, Communist, left, Liberal Party, Presidency, Reds, Rodrigo Duterte, yellow
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