DUMAGUETE CITY: Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on Friday said President Benigno Aquino 3rd must take full responsibility for the disastrous operation to capture international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, on January 25, which resulted in the death of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos.
In an interview, Duterte pointed out that while he does not want to offend the President, somebody has to tell Aquino to step forward and take the blame for the ill-fated operation.
“I do not want to offend the President but somebody has to tell him that he has to stop this blame game by taking full responsibility for what happened in Mamasapano,” he said in a statement.
Duterte is in Dumaguete City for a two-university swing there to continue his federalism advocacy, which he said is the best option should Congress fail to pass the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law.
“As mayor of Davao City, for example, I take full responsibility for whatever happens in an operation that I order to be implemented,” he added.
According to him, unless somebody owns up to the responsibility for the botched mission, the blame game between the military and the police will continue to project divisiveness in the government.
Duterte and his group are visiting Dumaguete City, Dapitan City and Dipolog City (both in Zamboanga) to continue their advocacy for federalism.
In his address on Wednesday before some 700 students of Silliman University, the mayor said the only option left to address the problems in Mindanao is federalism.
Under the proposal, according to Duterte, a federal state could be established for the Muslim provinces of Central Mindanao and another federal state for the island provinces of Basilan, Tawi-Tawi and Sulu.
He said a Federal Philippines would also enhance development of outlying regions of the country, which have long been neglected by the central government.
Duterte cited the case of Palawan, which is demanding P73 billion from the national government as its share from the Malampaya gas funds.
He is set to barnstorm the cities of Dagupan in Pangasinan, Baguio and Angeles in Pampanga next week as he intensifies his “Listening Tour” aimed at pushing for a shift to a federal system of government while at the same time feeling the pulse of the people who supposedly have been asking him to consider running for President in 2016.