DAVAO CITY: The Manila Times on Friday conferred on President Rodrigo Duterte the Man of the Year 2016 award for overcoming the odds and changing the political landscape.
Duterte said he was honored to accept the award.
In his speech during The Manila Times’ 5th Business Forum held at the Marco Polo Hotel, the President
admitted that he refused the offers of several organizations to give him awards.
“I made it a matter of personal and official policy not to accept awards all these years.
I’m relating this to you, all the Davaoeños know I do not accept awards except this one,” Duterte said.
“I could respectfully decline it and I would always say, you do not give me an award or reward for the things that I have to do because I am paid to do that. But ngayon kasi (But now), maybe because it’s high time, at least before I go beyond, I should have one award,” he added.
The President said one of the reasons why he declined awards is because of media’s reporting, particularly on his controversial remarks about the 1989 gang rape of Australian missionary worker Jaqueline Hamil.
“It was uttered in anger, as an insult actually. So I was relating it because somebody was here looking for the footage during the last election. And they were offering that clip there sa RPN, because somebody was piggy back while I was advancing to the side of prison. An enterprising journalist was also behind me, and so he got everything, what I said. But all in a day’s anger ‘yan. Para hindi ako maunahan (so they will not jump the gun on me), I related the story during the campaign sorties. Because I knew that if they could get it at the last minute, I would have a hard time, you know, how to temper and how to explain to the public that this is what happened. I would have a hard time explaining,” he said.
Duterte then enumerated what he called the “template” of his inspirations and achievement in life.
“I was just a prosecutor. I was a trial prosecutor for nine years. And in 1987 I was appointed as OIC vice mayor but the agreement was that after a stint… because they placed the name of my mother, “Soledad Duterte” in the list of persons who are going to take their oath of office because Cory Aquino was coming. But at the last minute, my mother balked and said she doesn’t want a life of politics. So ako ‘yung nilagay nila (So they put my name instead),” he said.
Duterte said he did not aspire to be a politician since all he wanted was to be a judge.
“My ultimate target was to be a Sandiganbayan judge but along the way, I had this ruckus with the OIC Mayor and I found myself running in 1988 as mayor. And I have been the mayor of this city up to the moment I ran for (the) presidency for 23 years. I was once upon a time a congressman and the vice mayor of my daughter. I do not know if you know her but she is the one who mauled the sheriff in front of the public,” he said.
“But Davao then was at the crossroads of the events of our country. Katatapos lang ng martial law and of course the communists were very active. Sometimes, life is really strange. I come from a poor family and we are just migrants. And when I was a prosecutor, I was also at the same time handling the Nationalist Alliance for Justice, Freedom and Democracy and that is now what you would call the “Karapatan.” The modern day Karapatan. Hindi alam ng gobyerno that I was reversing the ideological border,” he added.
The President said he leans on the socialist side but he was never a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
“I was one of those few who would go to the mountains and my passion is hunting and so I was also under the privilege who can go inside the forests of Davao region to hunt wild boars,” he said.
“I knew that all I could offer was my homegrown talent of persuading people just to go in peace. And so when Davao was seriously affected with drugs and crime, I was just new but I had this warning to everybody and with no apology. It was like this: “Go out of my city, do not do drugs, do not rape people, do not kidnap people, because I will kill you.” “Do not destroy the youth of my city because I will kill you.” and that was the rule of the game. How many died and for what reason, I really do not know,” he said.
“But when I became President, I already knew that there was a serious disorder in society because of drugs but it was not until I had the full access of the information and of the intelligence input did I realize that the drug problem had already engulfed my country. I realized that five years ago before this election, we were already in narco-politics because 40 percent of all the barangay captains of the entire Republic of the Philippines were into drugs,” he said.
Duterte again attacked Sen. Leila de Lima, saying she was “corrupting everybody” during her term as justice secretary.
“She was the highest official to be corrupted and she was corrupting everybody as the secretary of the justice department,” he said.
Duterte reiterated that he would not repeat the mistakes of ex-Colombian President Cesar Gaviria in his brutal war on drugs.
“This ex-president of Colombia, he said, ‘Duterte is committing the same mistakes.’ We can never [make]the same mistake because I am not [as]stupid as you are,” the President said.