AROUND 17,000 Negrenses joined the campaign sorties of Davao City mayor and presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte in Bacolod City on Monday, April 18.
A crowd estimated at around 7,000 attended the sortie in Barangay Tangub while around 10,000 gathered during the grand rally at the public plaza.
Bacolod is the capital city of Negros Occidental, the fifth most vote-rich province in the country with 1.663 million registered voters. The province is a known bailiwick of Liberal Party standard bearer Manuel Roxas II since his mother, Judy Araneta-Roxas, is from Bago City, and because of his alliance with the top officials of the province.
During the grand rally, Duterte often criticized Roxas, but did not spare Vice President Jejomar Binay either.
“Tiningnan ko ang aking horizon. Nandiyan ang kandidato na nagsabi ako ay berdugo ng kriminal. Tama ka, Binay. Ikaw, ang berdugo ng kaban ng bayan (I will look at my horizon. There is the candidate who says I am the executioner of criminals. That's right, Binay. You, on the other hand, are the executioner of country's treasury),” to which the crowd cheered.
On Roxas, he said: “I don’t understand Mar. He got angry with me because I ran (for president),”
“Ikaw (Roxas) na taga rito, hindi ka na nahiya sa kababayan? (You who hail from here, aren't you embarrassed in front of your own people?),” said Duterte, which was cheered even more by the crowd.
“He proclaims to be clean,” he said. “Boto ng Pilipino, ginawang lotto (The votes of the Filipino, treated like a lottery).”
The Davao City mayor alleged that the people in Samar were told that they would receive a million pesos if they vote for Liberal Party candidates, from president down to the last senator.
“Isn’t it like lotto? Do you think he will spend that big?” he asked.
Duterte chided Roxas for distributing farm implements at the height of El Niño, which has dried and cracked the soil.
“I can’t understand Mar. I can’t understand that politics. Why wait for election? They should have given that in December, just in time for El Niño,” he added.
Duterte said the next president should solve this problem, adding that “if the dry spell will continue to last in the next four to six months then we’re in serious trouble.”
He added that the next president should see to it that there is food available and it should be affordable.
Asked for his reaction on the belief that Negros Occidental is Roxas’s bailiwick, Duterte said that “in spite or despite of my mouth, I will give you a clean government in Negros.”
“I am just a mere human being in this planet which is really finite. It is not infinite. One day, I do not know where I am going in the end of the world. I have acquired my own identity in this planet. I will not change anything, otherwise I will not be Rodrigo Duterte,” he said.
He said that it is his “mouth” that kept the peace in Davao. “Tinatakot ko yung criminal, pag di ko matakot talagang enkwentro yan (I've scared criminals, if I didn't, it would turn into an encounter), simple as that.
“Huwag na tayong magdrama sa buhay na ‘to (Let's not create drama in this life),” he added.
Duterte said that he came to the province to say his piece but he would not force the Negrenses to vote for him.
“Choose. Mamili kayo kung sino ang hahawak sa gobyerno. Next month, choose the leader you want,” he added.
On the matter of Duterte's highly publicized joke regarding the rape
of an Australian missionary in 1989, the mayor urged the Australian government to “stay out of it,” saying it was part of Philippine politics.
After a video of the joke was made public, Australian ambassador to the Philippines Amanda Gorely said that rape and murder should never be joked about or trivialized.
He refused to apologize for the remark, but he stressed that he apologized for the incident having happened in the first place.
“My publicist in Davao prepared a statement of apology and I said I will not read it because it is wrong. I was not insulting the Australian woman. I was derogating the act of rape. For me, it’s a slang,” he said.
He added: “I was belittling their manhood… mas nauna pa kamo sa mayor was not a slur but a slang. Street slang, it was a Tagalog slang for everybody. Minamaliit ko yung tao, na parang sino kayo na pa-rape, rape…. As a matter of fact, because of the rape, I killed the 16 rapists. Ako yung nauna. Look when I said I give the orders to shoot to kill, what else would you make?”
He said he held the body of the three-year-old boy who was killed because of the incident, “I went blank. All I have is hate for the criminals,” he added.
“Sabi ko, follow me. I emptied my gun, one magazine lang… patay. I assumed the responsibility of the incident legally or otherwise,” Duterte said.
He reiterated it was just slang, “Do not interpret it the other way.”
The Davao mayor said he did not care if it would affect his presidential bid. “I bind myself with what I do. If it is not acceptable to cultured people, let it be. If it would mean my defeat in the election, so be it.”
Duterte was joined by running mate Alan Peter Cayetano and some members of his family, including daughter Sara, in his visit here.
Sara posted on her Instagram account that she was also a rape victim but she would still vote for the mayor.
“People are asking me to explain my side and comment on the joke. But it (rape) happened a long, long time ago,” she added.