President Rodrigo Roa Duterte Speech during the Philippine National Police (PNP) Assumption of Command
Multi-Purpose Center, PNP National Headquarters Building, Camp Crame, Quezon City
01 July 2016
Kindly sit down. Thank you. Salamat po.

President (Fidel) Ramos, sir. I’d like you to know that the first — the very first person to go to Davao to make a trip, a very quick one, it’s about three hours at the Marco Polo Hotel — we were held there for three hours and he said: “It is time that Mindanao will have a President.” And despite of my own misgivings about money, machinery and everything, I prevail because of his inspiration. Salamat po, Mr. President.

Excellencies of the Diplomatic Corps; Secretary (Ismael) Sueno; Secretary Delfin Lorenzana of the Defense department; our new Police Director Ronald dela Rosa; the members of the Senate: Manny Pacquiao; Risa (Hontiveros), nice to see you again; Congressman (Leopoldo) Bataoil, sir, how are you?; the Chief of Staff Ricardo Visaya and the major service command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines; former acting Police Deputy Director General Francisco Uyami Jr.; the chiefs of the National Police; men and women of the Philippine National Police; fellow workers in government; beloved countrymen.

There is no riddle in the hiring of persons to hold sensitive positions in government. As I have said, I am a probinsiyano and my sphere of influence was limited in the Davao region or, at that time, there was only One Davao and because — well, I grew up there. And I studied in Manila, so my crowd was limited to my schoolmates and, of course, my classmates. And then I became a mayor and a congressman — few other people in government already.

Now, in selecting the PNP Director General and these sensitive positions of Immigration and — well, positions that have something to do with the enforcement of laws and the punitive actions that are available in that office were appointed almost most of them, at one time or another, were city police directors of the City of Davao. Now the complaint is that: Mga kasama ko, mga kainuman, pati kabarkada.

Neither of the three. I do not drink with soldiers or policemen. I do not go around with them. I go home early. Although I have a rapport with them, there is always a limitation between a mayor and a police. For I have to discipline also civilians and in the military and police alike.

Now, these are the guys who went through their careers passing by Davao. And these are the only guys that I knew and I have worked closely and had the time to observe their character and integrity. And that was the only time came, Coy, Dela Rosa, Morente and the rest, they were all taken in because I had the fortunate chance of having good military and police officers. Napakaswerte ko.

And when I was grappling with a very sensitive position of Defense Secretary, there was only one choice and it was Delfin Lorenzana. He was the commander of the Scout Ranger Regiment when it was transferred to Davao at Malagos to fight the communist and to whom we are talking now about peace, for after all, we cannot be at war with our own people all the time through generations.

We have also to talk to the MI[LF] and the MN[LF] because there were historical implications and injustice committed along the way in civilizations and we hope that they would understand. And so I have also taken the liberty of choosing the men who would carry the burden of fighting if there is need to have one or the dimensions of understanding and imparting it to the soldiers that we cannot be at war with our own people for all time.

I am glad that General dela Rosa provided the light moments for us. But I’d like to be harsh and I mean no offense to anybody. E sa trabaho ika nga, sa atin tinatawag: Trabaho lang.

You know, let me put forward a very simple story. I became a lawyer in 1972, Bar ’72 during the crucial years, the first year of the implementation of the Martial Law. And when I went there, times were hard and I got married right away. So I had to support the family and one child. At that time, the salary was not really that good, so I had to take an extra job and what was it? I applied for a position in the Prosecutor’s Office in Davao City. I got the lowest job there and they named me special counsel. Kumbaga if you want to compare it with the military and your police, I will be lieutenant or inspector. So, ako po ay mahirap lang. I come from a poor family that migrated to Mindanao and whatever intervening honors there was just for fleeting years and moments. Good for memory.

I was forced to be a professor of the Police Academy in Davao City — there is an academy there — and I was teaching Criminal Law, Criminal Evidence and Criminal Procedure. And there was a time that — well, I would not want to pull my own chair, that no fiscal in Davao City would accept the task of prosecuting military offenders, police offenders and rebellion leaders. I was pushed to that task and I took it as part of the job. Far and it been the years, I have investigated all of you. And for those who have committed crimes, though exceeding an authority but in the performance of duty, alam ninyo ‘yan. Those of you who grew with the PNP before or the PNP now, it used to be the integrated National Police, you know how I handled your cases. You know how I helped government to discipline you. And nobody but nobody in this country can compare to me and they say: In the protection of the careers of those who were doing good. Although at times, getting into trouble because they have to do their job in a professional way. I could only remember filing a case for murder against an Army man, a major at that [time], and I secured his conviction. I don’t know if he’s still in Iwahig [Prison]. And he [unclear] abuses and common crimes of murders.

Iyong lahat, all of you, that were accused and there was a very significant case where the NPA’s fighting government forces, the Philippine Constabulary at that time, had a running gun battle and the NPA soldiers sought refuge in a house and so there was a firefight and the whole family there residing in that house were killed. And so I was tasked to handle because there was a public outcry and even the Secretary of Justice had to go to Davao to supervise the investigation.

I was appointed the investigating fiscal. And there was a cry for blood but I dismissed all the case because it was part of the territory, collateral damage. And I was told to explain here in Manila and I said: “That is what the evidence shows. If you have any other theory, sir, and if you want to overturn my ruling, do so if you like. But kindly accept my resignation.”

That is how I treated you. [In my] memory, 28 including Undersecretary Coy, were charged before a body, an organ of government and the recommendation all of them, almost all, who passed by Davao because of the alleged extrajudicial killings, were recommended for dismissal. And I went up and stood my ground. And I said that: “If you prosecute these guys for doing their duty, I will resign as mayor.” Sinabi ko doon sa head ng Constitutional body, “You choose, it is a matter of principle for me that I stand by the soldiers and the police when working for the country.” But I will be the first one to crush them if they are into crimes.

Ganito ‘yan, 22 years — before I became mayor, ten years earlier, my father was governor of One Davao. And I was, you know, I had good relations with the police as I grew up and I know your life story. I know how you handle your work and I know how good you are but I also know that sometimes you can become a bad boy in the organization.

So beginning from now, I will not tolerate, zero tolerance, for abuses committed by the law enforcement agencies including the National Bureau of Investigation. Kindly, most kindly avoid the company. You know these drug lords and a budding criminal would always want to have their pictures taken with the mayor, with the commanders, with the military, with the police, just to build a reputation around him for invincibility. That’s how it is done. Alam ninyo, you know that I know that I know and we all know. Then they would saw pictures, they put it in their offices so that when there is a BIR or whatever harassments, they would always send this subliminal message na “kilala ko”, “I know the mayor”, “I know the…” You know, avoid — do not taint yourselves in the company of known criminals and criminal syndicates. You will be sorry.

For the next six years, I will have an electronic thing there in the office to track your record. And I would know at alam ko ngayon kung sino ‘yung mga generals who are tainted with corruption and drugs and you know that I know, we all know, you better resign, you have no more future in the police.

Joke with anybody else but not me because I have my orders from President Ramos: “Do what is good for the country.” And he is the number one policeman thereabout now.

Alam ko kung paano ma-corrupt ‘yung gasolina converted into cash. I know how the operations are being castrated up down the line na pagdating doon sa prisinto — 22 years akong mayor. Ang prisinto meron na lang papel and they have to do is just to liquidated with nothing. They have to invent reasons there how it was spent. Do not do it! Ever again, ever again.

Kayong mga — the younger ones, never mind the old, they are retiring — for the next six years, build a track record of performance that is good because I will plot your history, your personal history. The many times that you were transferred at saka kapag ka…There is a practice amongst you that if you are assigned to another station or assignment, you bring along two, three, four, and they are there with you no assignments except to raise money. To give to the precinct commander, to give to the regional and up. That is not good, I know that.

Huwag kayong from here on: Do not bring anybody if you are transferred to Jolo or Sulu. Go there and fight the Abu Sayyaf alone. Do not bring your staff because ‘yung dala-dala ninyo, those who are with you are the ones called “pakawalaan”. Iyan ang tawag diyan. I am just being very harsh to you now. That’s why I said I am glad that we had the lighter moments. Alam ko ‘yan. Alam ko kung paano mag-liquidate ng precinct commander na wala, operations na wala, gasolina na wala. God, you have to stop this.

Upon orders of the former Commander-in-Chief of this Republic, President Ramos, he said: Stop it! Do your work. Siya ang sisihin ninyo hindi ako.

You know, one thing that you should realize, ordinaryong tao lang ako. I have no credentials to brag about. I am just an ordinary, an average person. But I took care to learn what it learned about life. So magprangkahan na lang tayo dito ngayon. Alam ko and that is why I told General Visaya: “Go ahead, form your Board of Generals and you take care of your organization.” I only choose the chief of staff and then let the Board of Generals decide the careers of the men in uniform. They do not go to me and I will not entertain you for promotion or transfer just like Bato and the rest of your guys there, Morento, Coy and the rest. I never interfere in their choices of commanders. Sinasabi ko lang: ‘You do your own thing. You assemble your own team to help you succeed. I will not interfere with the assignments but you have to answer to me for anything that happens.’ Ganun tayo dito.

I am ready for the Army but for the Police I am very sorry, I do not want to return to that Board of Generals until there is a reformation in the organization.

But be sure that when everything after six years, we are back to what you are supposed to be: A law enforcement, law abiding, God-fearing and only doing what is good for the country, then you can have everything back including the Board of Generals. In the meantime, no such thing.

And I told Bato na: “Huwag tayong mapahiya sa Pilipino”. And may I, as parting words, I will protect you in all of your undertakings, adventures, as a law enforcement guy, I will be there to protect you. I will provide you the funds. I will provide the weapons needed to fight criminality, particularly drugs.

I might not be able to stop it on time on the sixth month. But certainly after six months and one day, matapos na sana lahat. Total, tama ‘yung bayad ko sa inyo. In the election, it was not a campaign slogan that I want your salaries — and also the Armed Forces of the Philippines — if I win, I said by the grace of God, indeed, grace was there, na dodoblehin ko ‘yung sweldo niyo, double your salaries.

Let me tell you now, I will not run this country with a corrupt police. Mag-aaway tayo diyan and I do not want to demean you or to take anything from you. But luckily for me, there was this executive order before of President (Gloria Macapagal) Arroyo, raising to the level of the threat of a national security the drug problem. So, the Armed Forces must pitch in. You have to help, you have to get rid, because saan ka nakakita dito, nowhere in this world, except in South America — and I am giving you the books by (?), the saddest history of despair South America. And I would say that, make a projection that if I do not interdict now, the drug problem, seven years from now or two politics from now, or even one, it would become a narcopolitics like in South America and Mexico.

Saan ka makakita– Where do you find a country, a mayor is inaugurated in the morning and in the afternoon, he is executed? That will not happen, that will not happen during my watch. I said I will be harsh. But for all, about this killing, extrajudicial killing, may I again bring you back to your fundamentals. About the only time that a police officer or any civilian for that matter acting in defense for himself or for a stranger, is that you announce your authority or at least the crime or the wrong that the other guy has committed and will just announce that you are arrested and if you are a civilian you can do that. And if you drop your arms and then you start to overcome the resistance if there is one. And if there is a resistance that would place your life in jeopardy, then by all means shoot and shoot him dead. That is my order. Pero kayong mga ano – there are a lot of openings, slots dito. There will be a major revamp.

Alam mo kasi ganito ‘yan. Alam ko ‘yung style ninyo. I’m not addressing this body. I’m addressing the Filipino people. Kayong mga pulis na scalawags, nagkakakaso kayo: robbery, kidnapping. Bantay kayo kasi titingnan ko ‘yung record. Bantay ka sa akin. [laughs]

I said do not mess up with me. I am not challenging anybody but do not ever, you know, take it against me kasi talagang hihiritan ko kayo. You commit crimes then you are charged, you go AWOL or AWOL dito sa dialect natin. Then you let the years passed, two, three years…If you feel that you can already bargain with the victim or the victim has died, or the victim has transferred to another residence, you smell around and then suddenly you surface with your lawyer and say: ‘Your honor, I have decided to surrender because there is a warrant of arrest against me.’ And then he is put on bail or detained, a non-bailable offense, kidnapping, murder. So what do you do? You go to a (unclear) where you are free to go around even if you are really supposed to be in detention, tapos palakad-lakad lang kayo. Then when it is calendared, you go to the court and say, ‘Your honor, I want the trail now because I feel that I am innocent, I am insisting on a trial.’
So the server goes to serve the summons for the offended party to appear that day. You know very well that you surrender because everything is already cleared.

So the following setting, hearing, you say, ‘Your honor, we would like to have the trial now. Now that we are here.’ And there is no service because the server was paid, cannot be located or nowhere to be found.

I was a prosecutor. Do not… Pagkatapos niyan, your honor, the lawyer would say, ‘My client is innocent, is now insisting on a trial of the case otherwise we invoke the constitutional provision under the Bill of Rights, speedy trial.’ And you would insist on a trial or else you would ask for a dismissal of the case if there are no witnesses. And then you insist, and the poor prosecutor would say, ‘Your honor, give us a last chance to…’ But he cannot go out of the office. There are thousands of cases to be heard in one month. The fiscal has about 10 criminalcases everyday. Ready ‘yan kapag may witnesses. Those wallowing in good times are the defense lawyers. They have one or two cases for the day. They have studied the case carefully. They have the money to interview the witnesses and concoct another “true story.” So on the third hearing, the court will say: ‘Fiscal, ready?’ ‘Your honor, I am sorry I have no witnesses.’ Opposite counsel, ‘Your honor, we insist on a trial of the case.’ If the fiscal is not ready the prosecutor then we ask for the dismissal of the case. Every dismissal of a case which averse to the reason that there are no witnesses, any witness, that dismissal is with jeopardy. It cannot longer be re-filed. Kaya alam ko ‘yan lahat.

I said I was a trial prosecutor for 10 years. I have been a mayor in social contact with every human being in my territory. Not quite different from the rest of what ails this problem: corruption including the law enforcement.

I am willing to give you a break. But iyong those who were, you know, after the dismissal you go to Crame, Crame has no other option. Since the case is dismissed because there is no witness. That is a case, a dismissal on the merit. So you have to be taken back, my God, with back salary. You have your grand time, good time, and we pay you back for the years that you are in vacation. I will not allow or countenance that anymore.

Sorry ho, magkaibigan ho kayo. As I have said, you can never find any city mayor in the history of this country who protected his men, his soldiers – Delfin Lorenzana was a… He knows how I defended. Well, the onslaught of the legal, of the Left. I am a socialist. I belong to the Left dimension or the way we think. That is not my fault, I am a son of a poor man. But you know, more than that, I have this Constitutional duty to protect every man to give his due.

Iwasan ninyo ang korapsyon ngayon because I will tabulate every record of yours and those who are scalawags, either you resign because I am forming now the men that I would assign to Sulu. Where do you want? Compostela [Valley]? Okay kayo ngayon kasi nag-uusap tayo sa… There will be a lessening of violence now, I suppose, because we are talking to the Left.

But, lastly, the only thing why I’m here is that, you know, I want…I was listening to the candidates and that maybe prompted President Ramos to go to me. Nobody was talking about Mindanao. Nobody was talking about how to craft a strategy of ending the issue of insurrection in Mindanao, how we deal with the Moro bothers, how to correct the injustice, and how to deal with the Left. And I had the privilege of just talking to the Moros because maybe on the same a wavelength. I was referring to (unclear). And I had also the fortunes of being a prosecutor and a mayor.

Sa lahat sa amin dito – I am not pulling my own chair but even during the time I ran for the first time as mayor, I was the only one prepared to deal with the trouble of a social problem which we are facing now.

So I expect, I do not want to be a dictator. And for those who are talking about beyond my term, no second term. God, you just don’t know how I would be happy we can accelerate the time and we have done the six years already, on the last day. I am going out whether you like it or not. I have no intention of remaining in office beyond. I said… It is… I’m the only candidate you know that. I had no governor, I had no mayor. Outside of the Davao region, I didn’t even have a single barangay captain. But yet I won because Ramos was there for me. [laughter]

So ganon lang ‘yan, ‘yung sinabi niya, ‘You know the ins and outs of the police. You know where the problem is. I tried during ano — I was succeeding. Why don’t you try and succeed?’ So, I promised the people, nobody was campaigning for me, not even a single mayor, congressman or the entire length and breadth of this country. But I won by a margin of something like 6 million. What was the message? Mas gwapo ako kay (Jejomar) Binay, kay (Mar) Roxas? [laughter] Mas bright ako kay Grace (Poe)? None of the above. We were equals before the eyes of the electorate. But I was the only one carrying the message right: Corruption, drugs, and criminality.

Economic progress, I leave it to the economic minds. And so my advice also to the businessmen, when you invite me, I’ve stated my qualifications. It’s a meager one. I don’t make — I don’t flaunt it. So when you go and ask me to talk to you and I’m your guest and I begin to talk about law and order and corruption, that is my territory.

And when I…If there is a failure to expound more about economics, God, my only economics were during the college days. I went back to Davao and retrieve the — I got 78. So what do you expect from me? Can I become an economic tycoon? Of course not. But can I become a good prosecutor? I am. I’ve learned the art of everything in the courtroom. Can I become a president? Certainly. What will I do? I’m warning you. I will be harsh. I will go to the extreme.

‘Yung nagkakaso kayo ng may mga kidnapping, I will review your [cases] And I will like to talk to you in Malacañang, dalawa lang tayo. Sabihin mo sakin kung ano ang gusto mo.

Do not bullshit with me but do your duty, I will die for you. Do your duty and if in the process you kill 1,000 persons because you were doing duty and I will protect you. And if they will try to impeach me, I will hurry up the process and we go out of the service together.

Thank you and good morning.