Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday lashed out at Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd, calling him a “failed politician.”
Duterte was bristling after the administration bet criticized his campaign against illegal drugs in Davao City.
“He [Roxas] can never do it,” the mayor said of his rival for the presidency. “Give him 20 years and [he]still won’t be able to hack it.”
He noted that his anti-drugs campaign is “anchored on effective intelligence network and diligent police work that make the city a hard market to penetrate for drug operators.”
Roxas was the former secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
After the Sunday debate in Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental, Roxas blasted Duterte’s anti-illegal drugs campaign, saying the drug menace still exists in Davao City.
“May droga sa Davao ngayon,” he said. “Ngayon lang, gusto mo samahan kita e, makakabili tayo ng droga sa Davao e [There are drugs in Davao. Even now, if you like, we can go buy drugs in Davao].”
Peter Laviña, Duterte’s spokesman, said Roxas was trying to assail the reputation of Duterte and Davao City to make himself look good.
“He is painting others black so he will look white,” Laviña added.
He noted that Roxas should not strip himself of the responsibility to curb illegal drugs or stop criminality because he once was secretary of the DILG, which has jurisdiction over the Philippine National Police.
“What has he done as secretary of DILG and as chairman of the National Police Commission to fight drug abuse?” Laviña asked.
He said Roxas’ knowledge of and inaction on the problem of illegal drugs in Davao make him not only an irresponsible citizen but also “an accomplice and a protector of drug lords and their drug pushers.”
For this alone, Laviña added, Roxas deserves to “go to jail, not to Malacañang.”
But the camp of Roxas claimed that Duterte is scared of the LP presidential bet.
LP spokesman and Caloocan City (Metro Manila) Rep. Edgar Erice slammed Duterte for predicting that Roxas will not win the presidency even after 20 years.
“Duterte is really afraid of Mar Roxas,” Erice said.
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. the campaign manager of the LP-led coalition, also downplayed Duterte’s bragadoccio.
“Dont worry. Mar will win this one,” Belmonte said.
Akbayan party-list Rep. Ibarra Gutierrez, LP spokesman, countered that Duterte has not done anything good.
He said Roxas, as Interior secretary, reduced crime rates by 60 percent through Oplan Lambat Sibat.
“That’s Mar’s record. Duterte cannot pass on his failings to Mar. Duterte was mayor for more than two decades. He was [chairman]of the regional peace and order council. What has he done?” Gutierrez asked.