"He is not a killer," Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said when asked on BBC Newsday Friday, December 15, in Singapore about a recent controversial statement picked up by foreign media on Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte's statement apparently admitting he killed three people when he was mayor of Davao City.
BBC Newsday anchor Rico Hizon played a portion of the President's speech before asking the question.
"We don't take all the President's statements literally, but we take his statements seriously," Andanar said during the interview.
The popular President of the Philippines has met disapproval from his critics who accuse him of being master player in the alleged Extra-judicial Killings supposedly happening under the watch of the Philippine National Police and the Philippine military since the administration launched an intensive drive against illegal drugs, corruption, and criminality.
"That is the style of the President, when he was mayor of Davao City. He wanted to instill fear in the hearts of criminals," Andanar said to explain the unfiltered speech of Duterte, who, ironically, and to the frustration of critics in the international community, continues to enjoy a massive support base in the Philippines.
Duterte is known for going around Davao City on a motorcycle to patrol the streets and look for trouble to stop. Foreign news picked up the message that the motorbike-riding mayor went out of his way to look for trouble, hence creating an image that the tough talking mayor initiated trouble or spent his time engaging residents making trouble or being trigger-happy most of the time.
The quoted portion of the President's statement was taken from a recent business forum where he talked about the government's relentless campaign on drugs and the inevitable reality of casualties as a result.
Source: Philippines News Agency