Speech of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during the groundbreaking ceremony of a drug treatment and rehabilitation center
Malaybalay City, Bukidnon
25 March 2017
[recording starts]

Representative Maria Lourdes “Malou” Acosta – Alba, I don’t know if she followed; Representative [Florencio] Flores Jr. of the 2nd District; Representative Jose Ma. Zubiri III of the 3rd District; Representative Rogelio Neil Roque of the 4th District; Mr. Jose Kho, our constant benefactor, a true friend of the Republic of the Philippines, the officers and members [of] the Friends of the Philippines Foundation; [speaks Bisaya], mabuhay kayo.

I have a three-page prepared speech and if I read it [speaks Bisaya] the things that are in my heart for which you can find the rage kung bakit.

Let me just relay to you a very simple story. Noong una po, prosecutor ako. Daliin ko lang kasi the sun is coming down at aabutan kayo ng init diyan.

But most of the time, I was prosecuting drug cases but one of the things that you would need to successfully prosecute trafficking is that there must be a buying and selling. Sans that transaction, there is no trafficking and so the offense is just a simple possession.

Most of the time, because he is just a courier he would just bring along one sachet so in case they would be arrested, gamay lang ang dala nila and it is only — Father, you might want to transfer to the other side. Kung madala ko ito, dalhin ko na lang ito diyan para — well anyway, but most of the time you need a forensic expert and that was the time when I was a fiscal, that would be around the ‘70s, I would need a chemist.

But invariably most of the time, there was only one and there are so many cases filed in so many courts in Region XI alone.

And if your case is called that day and it happens to be there in Surigao or in Davao Oriental and he cannot travel alone, he has to wait for a convoy because at that time, if you travel and you are a policeman or a soldier and you get to be stopped in the highway, there were a lot of lawless elements including the NPA. Talaga yayariin ka and you’re a dead duck.

And so most of the cases I handled, about 40 percent of those, were dismissed because if the judge would say, “Are you ready, Mr. Prosecutor?” and the defense counsel would say, “We insist on a trial because to delay the trial would be a delay in the judge… administration of justice.” Then that’s the end of the case.

A case filed because there is no witness and you cannot ask a postponement, it is a judgment on demerit. You cannot file the case again because that would be a violation of the speedy trial.

The accused is entitled to a speedy trial and that is a constitutional provision. So it came to pass that I became mayor and I was well aware of the problem. And because of the virulent consequences or effects of the drugs and the number of people being driven to insanity – some were not but most of the time, and as the forensics of the Americans would tell you, that was a study that was also a result of the drug problem in the border — I will not mention the name – they say that constant use of shabu the chemical, seven months to one year at one dose per day, it would shrink the brain of a human being. And if the brain is shrunk, rehabilitation is no longer viable. And that’s the sad story.

And most of the time when I was mayor, I encountered maybe a few thousands in Davao City to the point that I said one day, I cannot administer a city inhabited by insane persons. This has to stop.

And I saw many lives of people, young ones destroyed, and one day I just announced that, I said, Do not destroy my city. We are trying to make a [unclear]. We just had martial law and we are on the crossroads and I had to deal with everybody, including the NPAs, the Moro insurrection and of course, the criminality and at that time.

It was really something of a mindboggling problem. But I said to everybody including, you know, they don’t really bother to— they just would pick up somebody with a car and the kidnapping was really rampant. They would pick up the Chinese girl in the city in the middle of the day and they were just doing it as if nobody’s business. And I said I have to build a city.

I will build a city that is peaceful, everything is in order so that we will survive the economic hardships. So I said, go out of the city if you are into drugs or if you are into kidnap for ransom or if you are just a plain terrorist. If I find you in my city, I will kill you.

If you deprive us of the youth, the very… guys, we are not rich and when we get old they will be the ones to spoonfeed us with porridge, our medicines, they will buy the oxygens for you. And if most of them are crazy, we do not have the money, we do not go for the home for the aged, except in Davao, there is one.

I have the home for the aged, I have a beautiful house, a 30-million structure. Gibuhat na ko balay na guapo kaayo.

Now this is where I place the victims of incest. Yung nire-rape ng tatay, kapatid, anybody who is related to the victim because they are pregnant and they have to rear, nurture the babies, so it has to be a big house. I have that in my city because I understood the problem.

Now, in the matter of drugs, I said, I will kill you. I will simply kill you. Go out of my city. If you want to be alive, just — that’s what I’m saying. Now, if you want peace in the land, drop the shabu and
tomorrow, there will be heaven in the Philippines. But when I became President, I did not realize before then that shabu has contaminated the country.

The last PDEA chief was General Santiago. He came out with a number of three million confirmed addicts. In Davao there were about, I don’t know, maybe 4 but when I was elected President and I had already access to all information, I was appalled to realize and to know that there were 4 million addicts already, including the figures of the PDEA last year and it has breached for the year that I was there as mayor and half of it as President. It breached the number of one million. And so we have a population who are drunk with shabu most of the time and those who are really insane.

Now, I’d like to say about these critics. You might want to travel back in time and even a few days before I became mayor. And look at the killings already being perpetrated. I don’t know if it was a cleansing process because I fired 9 generals of the police who were involved in drugs.

I don’t know because we only started to operate against the drug syndicates 2 months after I assumed presidency. But if you look at the records, there were a lot of killings even on the first 10 days.

I don’t know what happened, was it a turf war? Or an intrigue sowed by, you know, the intelligence community? If he was the one who reported to you and things like that. But just the same, 4 million is 4 million.

I’d like to place something like those who are really insane now or was maybe off his rockers. Even if you place it at a conservative estimate of about, a liberal… just place it about 8 million and you read the crimes that were committed before the drug campaign and look who were the victims: children 1 year old, raped; two years old; waylaid school girls coming from school; night shift workers and everybody else.

And they were having a hard time killing people and they were enjoying it. And most of them were committed by the drug addicts. Apparently in the Philippines, during the previous administration, and this is what I have been trying to pound on the critics: The fear of the law disappeared. Because when you are into drugs, you are not in your right faculties and you cannot discern what is right and what is wrong.

And what is worse is that when he committed the crime, maybe he was not still an insane person but when the trial comes over a period of months, maybe arrested after 2, 3 months or one year, he is already reduced to an imbecile.

And if I were the defense counsel, at the start of the trial, I would just say, “Your honor may we have a preliminary inquiry?” “For what purpose?” “To determine, your honor, if my client is ready to face a trial in court. To inquire into his mental faculties.”

And he would – “Place him on the stand. What’s your name?” “Oh, our plantation was destroyed.” “So who’s your father?” “Ah you know, I was there traveling, ganon.”

And the doctor would just say, “He was my patient, you honor. He’s still my patient. He’s an insane person. He cannot stand trial.”

Now, if you count the victims, according to the victim of drug addicts, it’s 77,000. Now, you give me a number of about 10,000? That 10,000 is too much. It is true that many were killed in police operations. And for those who implemented my order, I accept full, legal responsibility. The liability is mine and mine alone. Because somebody has to order. Somebody has to give the marching orders for them to operate.

You know why? You know why shabu flourished everywhere? Because most of the politicians were already into drugs. Little did we realize that 5 years before, we were already a narco-politic state and 40 percent of the basic government unit, the barangay, then you have the municipality, city, province, most of them— 40 percent of the total barangays in the Philippines were already into drugs.

So it would not surprise you to see the Secretary of Justice De Lima, she was trying to say that she is a political prisoner. My God. Since when have we been prosecuting political personalities here? As the matter of fact, they steal the malversed money and they go freely.

So I had to — who will now answer for the deaths of these innocent persons? And who will now answer for the huge number of four million? Who allowed it in our country to happen? Who? I’m asking. Because I told them: stop destroying my country, I will kill you. Do not deprive us of the next generation of Filipinos because we need them to run the country, to be the fathers and mothers of our children so that the Philippines can continue until kingdom come.

But if you destroy the youth or most of them, or leave them with the same problem as we are facing, they will be doomed because we can never be sure if there is somebody who would just say, “kill them.”

My orders to the police: Arrest them if it is possible. Go out and hunt for them. But if you are confronted with a violent resistance for which many policemen today, if you think that your life is in danger, my God, shoot and shoot them dead before you are killed.

And what about extrajudicial killing? You read the newspaper today. You read the report, I have a briefer as well. Ibigay mo sa kanila ‘yung briefer. I lose 3 to 4 policemen and soldiers a day within the Philippines and in Mindanao, it is fueling the ISIS.

The ISIS has already anointed [Hapilon] as the IS leader. Parang chapter chapter lang. Chapter – parang Lions, ganon, you have a chapter there, chapter here. And he is in Central Mindanao and we had just had a, we had a bombing — usually the jets are not allowed in rebellion cases. I authorized them.

I said, “Bomb the place.” And we’re using the air assets now, including against the NPAs because you know, I will not hesitate, really. Just… it’s beyond understanding for a, maybe an ordinary idiot. But if it comes to the issue of my country, the interest of the people, I will not hesitate. I will not even think twice.

Now, they say that, “Duterte is planning to declare martial law because he wants to perpetuate himself in power.” Let me tell you now: I’m 72 years old. If you think or if you ask me, am I happy? Excessively happy to be President? Inordinately proud to be President? I tell you, no, I am not.

I’ll tell you another statement: I do not need the presidency at this time of my life. I’ve been in the service of government as a prosecutor, as a vice mayor, and the mayor of Davao City for 23 years and then a congressman and back to mayor. I’m beyond the applause [claps hands] and the shouting “Du-ter-te, Du-ter-te”

It does not bring any added happiness to me, I’m beyond that. Do not point out to me that no, there is a martial law provision, he will use it. It is in my oath of office, it says it all.

When I say I promise under oath, that I will protect the Filipino people and preserve the nation, it says all. I will do anything to preserve the Filipino. It does not matter what document you’d want to… and I said if it comes to the interest of my country, so be it. It will be done.

So I asked the NPAs, we’re in a kung may mga— kinsay NPA diha? Eh Sige na. Hiya hiya pa gyud. Sige na kauban — eh kasi kaharap ‘yung sundalo. O kasama man tayo sa bukid.

You know, I am Left and that is why we had this excellent rapport when I was still a mayor, a local myself.

And I had to deal with you guys because I have to see the countryside development and I cannot go there if I fight them.

And besides we share the same horizon about society. I am a leftist. I am a socialist. But certainly, I am not a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines. It’s just a party on the extreme left.

Mine was to build a city and look at Davao now. If you guys have been to Davao — kaadto na ba mo Davao? Kamo? Karga na mo sa helicopter. Oo, usa usa, grupo-grupo pero mauna mga guapa. [laughter]

So you know, di tayo nagkakaintindihan dito and they’re asking for my indictment before the International Criminal Court. And one of those who’s began saying it, really America. The State Department.

And you know, when I was reviewing the documents, America is not a member of the International Criminal Court. Why? Because at that time, they were trying to protect President Bush. Because he invaded Iraq on the pretext of the weapons of mass destruction when there was none. If at all, it was an extreme negligence, even trying to find out just to — before you invade a nation.

And of course the other Bush invaded Panama, a sovereign state, captured the President and brought him to America to face trial. And he is detained there for life.

Is it not an incongruity of the State Department? And there’s EU. Why? ‘Yung konsensya ba ng, your elders before in the 90s is different from the conscience that you have now when you have the EU?

In 1914 to 1917, the Archduke Ferdinand of Prussia, because Germany and Austria before was one. He was assassinated. It led to a war. Then followed immediately by the Second World War. It was a ruckus between Europeans. How many were killed? Well, I tell you: 90 million. And you say that we do not do it now.

So I ask you: What was the conscience then and what is your conscious now? And you try to interfere in my work, blaming me for those of the death that are not connected with police work.

For those who died in connection with the police operation and I said that if you are confronted, shoot him. File the case and I will answer it. If I go to jail, fine.

You know, not every Filipino is given a chance to be President. I’m the 16th so I’m the lucky of the one — of the 16th. How honored am I to be President? I will readily die for the people, and for my country [applause].

It is good to die for your country. For all, after death is only once, it is not a like some—sore tummy that sticks out painfully everyday. Death is—whatever. You can go down if you want, you can shoot me if you want. They would say: the military will remove you coup d’etat, really? No need for a coup d’ etat.

If you guys want, tell me. I will call you in Malacañan, allow you [to] take the stage and say, “ Repeat after me. I, (I) General, now member of the junta, o one of the same junta,” okay the government is yours.

Do not kill the other soldier, my guards because they are just the same, you are all soldiers. Or if you want to impeach me, go ahead, so it’s my destiny.

I said, I was only supported by Governor Zubiri, and another lady here in Mindanao, two governors. I will mention her name, but I tell you, she supported because of love [laughter]. See what love can do?

Bumaligtad siya. She bolted the party and gave me a resounding 100,000 majority because of love. No money involved, no millions of pesos.

So 15 million plus the 6. How did we get the 6 million? I had no party, our party was local na Cagayan De Oro. PDP. The elder Pimentel and the Senate President. That was the party. I joined PDP, I had no money but I carried only simple messages.

During the debates, my rivals here, “Oh we’ll do and so about a lot infrastructure project would come in your way and we’ll improve the hospitals. How can you improve a hospital when there is none? And…”

Ako I said, I will promise you I will stop corruption and my God, you must stop corruption. Either you will be ready to go out just like a guy who was with me since 1988. He was part of my team but when we were already in the government, and I heard that he was suggesting this and that and I said, “you have to go.” The first whiff of corruption, it’s finished.

So I have fired 92, I have fired so many Customs officials, BIR, the Revenue people and the regulatory boards of [LTFRB], the one giving the franchises for public utilities, 92 all of them this month alone, March. I said go. And I said better not, do not f** the government with its money. Cause if you do, we cannot understand each other.

Then I promised drugs. I said I know the scourge. I’ll put a stop to it. I cannot now renege; I cannot now go soft because if I do that, I would have condemned my country to doom. I will try to gamble and I said, in this campaign promises that I made, it’s only five including the economy, I said which I would give to the top guys, my classmates in high school, my childmates who are in the top of the world in finance.

I have aplenty. The valedictorian of our class — they are all valedictorians, summa cum laude and all. You just don’t know them but when they were students — Art Tugade is a billionaire. Congress does not want to give him money maybe because they suspect. But Tugade is my classmate at that time, he was already the chief operating officer of Delgado Shipping.

Sonny Dominguez owns the Marco Polo, he was a childhood — Salalima of the IT, he was a cum laude. I was the only one who was getting 75, 75, very consistent but always able to get to the next step. And my Cabinet is full bright guys, impressive credentials, all bright.

Having the—I think the average is about 90. If you collate all of their scholastic records. I would have— for those something like a[n] average of 90 for all of them. Then you my 75, but you know what? What is very surprising? You all work for me [laughter & applause].

My Secretary of Defense—andito ba si… when I got him, I was a mayor and he brought in the 2nd Ranger, the 2nd Battalion of the Regiment of the Scout Rangers of Philippine Army.

I knew him then when he was a just a young— but he was like colonel at that time and he has still plenty of hairs. Now he has none at all but he is my Defense Secretary.

And you know what? I’m sorry. He’s a PMAer so there’s always the average—any graduate of the PMA would be good. I mean, if he is a graduate, there is a standard and he has surmounted that standard. He’s really good, anyone of them. But when, you know, I don’t know if you know Pastor Quiboloy, he is the evangelist that has a TV program.

He said that in Cotabato, Delfin Lorenzana was his classmate at the Notre Dame of Cotobato. And when he was in PMA, he was also the valedictorian. But I didn’t know that.

But there’s also one guy, which I really admire: General Lapeña PDEA now. [applause]. I got him from retirement and [unclear] with me. He used to be my -I choose him to be… because we mayors get the option to choose our police chief.

I got him then when I was… Gloria… I was able to talk to President Arroyo and said “Ma’am I– kasi he had a problem with the NPAs in the mining town Diwalwal. And these NPAs were placing the dead coffins of the NPAs there in the highway and traffic was snarled all throughout reaching Agusan.

And he said, President Arroyo called me and said, “Can you go there and talk to the NPAs?” Sabi ko, “yes” “But you give me because after that, I have to establish order. You give a Regional Commander na gusto ko, Ma’am.” Sabi niya, “Bakit ito si ano? “I don’t like him. He’s also an imbecile, an idiot, I want him replaced.” So I got a new… and then he went, he rose to become the directorate for operations. And he’s good, and he’s doing well.

I have nothing against my policemen and soldiers. But those who are lazy ones, who do not want to work, I sent them to Basilan. I said you go there and do your duty. So that is my take dito po sa problema. And you know what, I go now to the next topic.

It was not until after I changed the position of the foreign policy and decided to remain neutral. Of course we have an RP-US pact military and that was signed in the ‘50s, 1950 I think.

So I do not want to enter into military alliances. That is not part of my governance, in my dimension. I decided to—because our exports were being almost banned by China.

I don’t know for what reason, I do not want to… because I’d like to tell you now that Ambassador Zhao Jianhua of China is here. And I’d like to [applause] pay my respects to him and to the Chinese people.

You know, I went to China and I said, “President Xi Jinping, I come here in peace. I am not asking for anything. I am just trying to ask you to reconsider your decisions. You have banned almost of the products from the Philippines. For one reason or another quality wise and everything.” I said, “Can we fix it? What should we be doing to improve the quality? Because the pineapples are rotting and the bananas are, you know, it’s all down and they could not even pay for their laborers.

And he said we will talk. And so we had a series of bilaterals with my military and my soldier because the Chief of Staff was also there. I never conceded anything except that I wanted friendship.

And after my meeting, he said you can export again. And you know what? It is back to normal, 100 percent. [applause] The banana is nearing 70 percent. And China, with all of its, maybe they think also that we are relatives.

Well my grandfather was a Chinese. My mother is a Maranao from Lanao. So my father is a Cebuano. I am a Filipino.

And I said yes. So they have started to import. And before I left they said, we will buy all your products.

Mangga ngayon kulang tayong mangga kasi pinagbibili na ang mangga. Naunahan na tayo sa mga disers. So the disers would get rich. They are the ones who will get rich in this ano.

But ‘yung present ano natin is may toka na, it’s there on the deck or in the pipeline for export. And we are back to normal and we have received so much financial aid and grants.

You know, China has even promised us [applause] for all of their goodness, they promised to build 2 bridges over the Pasig River. Free. Gratis. [applause] And I bow in gratitude. But we have said that it is a big bridge but when they make the ingress ingress, the roads are very narrow, it would still increase traffic by the numbers exponentially. So that is my story.

The first rehab was build by a Chinese friend, Huang Rulun. And it was built, I said, I ordered the military to open its military camps, the reservation because it is only the military who has vast tracts of land. That’s really intended so that they can exercise whatever. It’s almost like 4 mountains. I told them to open their camps. If there is no land available and there is money for, to construct a rehab so that–

So the Chinese government, no—friend, with also with the inspiration of the Chinese people, government, a 10,000 facility. It is there. Finished in 4 months. Now, it will come to pass. Look at it. I hope they’d be able to reach the building before I kill them. These idiots. [laughter]

I said… so the… My presidency begins and ends with public interest. Nothing in second, nothing [inaudible]. Just public interest and I am ready for anything. I will be. I am a worker of government and I will serve you, and serve you and serve you faithfully. Thank you.