PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has allayed fears he would become a dictator, saying he was just after a new Constitution that would address corruption.
“These communists, calling me a dictator, an executioner, somebody corrupt…[but I say to you], do not be afraid of dictatorship. I am not aiming for it. I do not ask [for]it and I do not like it,” Duterte said in his speech during the birthday celebration of Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) President Alfredo Lim on Tuesday night.
The President was referring to comments about him by the National Democratic Front (NDF), the political wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) after the breakdown of peace talks.
“In the event that Congress comes up with an anti-corruption Constitution, I will step down at the end of the year. That is a commitment, a guarantee. Make me a Constitution that would do away with a long suffering corruption-ridden country and I would be willing to just step out so you won’t be afraid that I am just after being a dictator,” Duterte said.
The President, however, did not take the communists’ tirades sitting down, tagging the insurgents as terrorists amid the spate of attacks launched by the New People’s Army (NPA) against government troops (see story on A7).
NPA is the armed wing of the CPP.
“If I am a fascist that you [communists]say I am, [then]why [did you]talk to me? If that is the way, how you view me, then do not talk to me. Wait for a leader that would be to your liking your predilections. I am not that kind,” Duterte said.
After four rounds of talks between the government and the NDF, Duterte formally ended peace talks with the communist rebels this month, branding them as “terrorists,” amid the spate of NPA attacks.
Communist leaders, led by CPP founder Jose Ma. Sison, countered by calling Duterte a “bully” and a “dictator.”