MOST, busy with voting and election matters, must have missed the news items published by ABS-CBN online yesterday.
All the stories make me feel the effort of his opponents to demonize him (basically using his own words of self-deprecation) would not work when they meet the man and see and hear him talk normally and not to impress crowds with tough, insolent and impious language.
The first story is titled “After voting, Duterte calls for healing.” There was another story about him speaking to his son and sounding as a good father should and another about his comments on rumors that his foes were doing everything to cheat on him.
The ABS-CBN stories made me want to meet Mayor Duterte, shake his hand and congratulate him for what, at the time of this writing just after 7 p.m., Monday night, his most likely election victory.
That is something I, being also from Mindanao, would welcome.
With ABS-CBN’s permission, here are excerpts from the story “After voting, Duterte calls for healing” by Joel Guinto.
DAVAO CITY: Frontrunner Rodrigo Duterte said Monday he was seeking to unite the country after a vicious and divisive presidential campaign as he warned criminals and corrupt officials that they would be shot if they fought back.
The 71-year-old maverick mayor said he was “hopeful,” but not “presumptuous” to claim victory in Monday’s balloting even if opinion polls ahead of the vote showed him with a commanding lead.
“These past few days were quite virulent for all of us. This is part of a day’s work in the elections. I would like to reach my hand to my opponents, let us begin the healing now,” Duterte told reporters after he cast his vote.
“I’m sure feathers have been ruffled terribly. There’s the hurt. The black propaganda and kitchen sink thrown at us. I extend my hands to opponents, let’s be friends. Forget about the travails of the elections,” he said.
Duterte then wrote the word “STOP” on a white tarpaulin on the stage to stress his point that corruption and crime must stop. He said security forces conspiring with criminal rings had the choice to “retire” or “die.”
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Several paragraphs about his anti-crime policy and his order for the police to go after criminals have been deleted.
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Joel Guinto’s report continues:
Duterte said he would retire from public life if he loses the election.
“I am hopeful and I pray to God. If God wants me there, I will accept it. If God doesn’t
want me there, I will accept it. I will retire from public life,” he said.
Asked about perception that he advocated “mass murder,” Duterte said: “That’s part of the healing process.”
He said allegations that he had women and minors killed in Davao were “pure garbage.”
Duterte said he was “satisfied” with the conduct of the elections so far, adding reports of cheating were “not high enough to make a dent” in its credibility.
Presidential candidate Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte casts his vote at the Daniel Aguinaldo National High School in Davao City on Monday. Supporters around the country expressed strong support to the feisty mayor, which could make him the first president for Mindanao.