STICKING to his profanity-laden speaking style, presidential candidate Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte reminded hundreds of thousands of supporters of the failures of the Aquino administration and promised change for the better.
“To the Filipino people, thank you,” the 71-year-old Duterte told supporters at his mitin de avance at the Quirino Grandstand at the Rizal Park in Manila.
“I do not claim any greatness. I do not have extraordinary qualifications to be a great president. I am just an ordinary Filipino,” Duterte told a huge crowd that organizers claimed to reach 700,000.
“But I can stop corruption, criminality and drug trafficking. I have no patience for those. There is no middle ground for those. I will kill you all, idiots,” he told a cheering crowd, which the police estimated at only 300,000.
“I am staking my life, honor and even the presidency. Mark my words, I will do it. When I say ‘stop,’ you better stop or I will really kill all of you criminals and corrupt officials,” he said.
Duterte also lambasted Senator Antonio Trillanes IV who continue to criticize his candidacy and his capability to become president.
“Trillanes is the ultimate mongrel. Didn’t he stage a rebellion, the fool. But when the tanks came, he surrendered. What kind of leader is that?” Duterte said of Trillanes, who admitted to have paid for television advertisements that criticized the Davao mayor.
He outlined the failures of the Aquino administration and cussed Liberal Party officials, including his rival Mar Roxas, for failing to uplift the lives of Filipinos.
“Sa inyong lahat, panahon na ninyong gumanti [To all of you I say it is your time to get even],” he said to thunderous applause.
The mitin de avance of the Duterte-Cayetano team started at 5 p.m. and was attended by thousands of their supporters.
Peter Laviña, Duterte’s spokesperson, said the venue was chosen after supporters of the tandem earlier called the gathering “Occupy Luneta.”
“Since the Tagumpay ng Bayan rally held for Cory in 1986, this would be the second time a rally of such political significance will be held at the historic park,” Laviña said.
“We aptly dubbed it Tagumpay ng Pagbabago because no less than the son of Cory is resisting and frustrating the people’s clamor for real change,” he added. “Truly ironic and tragic.”
As of 6 p.m., according to Chief Insp. Kimberly Molitas, chief information officer of the National Capital Region Police Office, the crowd estimate at the Quirino Grandstand was 300,000.
“We deployed teams as well as explosive and ordnance division personnel and K9 teams for panelling. Continuous checkpoints are being conducted while foot and mobile patrol in the activity site are maximized,” said Molitas.
People from various parts of Metro Manila and various provinces came all the way from their localities to Luneta Park to throw their support behind the tough-talking Mindanao leader.
Singer Aiza Seguerra kicked off the program with a song calling for support to Duterte. Television personalities Kat de Santos and Jimmy Bondoc hosted the event.
On Friday, supporters criticized the administration over work on the grounds of Luneta Park, which they suspect was timed to sabotage the grand rally.
But Luneta Park’s planning department officer Rico Mendoza said the work had long been scheduled because it had been earlier laid on the site for a carnival “and now the grass can’t grow.”
He also claimed they did not know about the political rally and denied that the work was meant to sabotage the event.
Duterte, 71, is a consistent frontrunner in various opinion surveys in the presidential race.
Meanwhile, Duterte’s spokesman Peter Tiu Lavina posted in his social media account that they continue receiving reports about a massive vote buying in Mindanao and Visayas.
“Voters are being paid not to vote for Duterte. The plan is to reduce Duterte’s vote so it can be easy to cheat, vulnerable to manipulation of transmission and canvassing. We also expect names of voters missing on Monday’s polling to disenfranchise our voters,” he said in his Facebook account.
“Our response to these schemes—accept the money and vote with your conscience. To resist harassment, let us group ourselves in family, clan or neighborhood brigades when we go to the polls,” Laviña added.
“Remember, in unity there is strength. Let us pinpoint local LP (Liberal Party) ward leaders responsible for these vote buying. Also, tomorrow Sunday let us visit our polling centers to check, double check our names and specific cluster of precincts. This way we would be able to make it easy on Monday. Let us also help our friends and neighbors in identifying their cluster of precincts.”
“On Monday, be sure that the oval that we will shade corresponds to the name of our candidates in the national and local elections. These are on the left, not the right, side before the name of the candidates.”
The Duterte camp earlier chided ruling party candidate Mar Roxas over his appeal for a dialogue with another candidate Senator Grace Poe, saying it is an admission that a victory by Duterte has virtually become inevitable.
“Only a man on the verge of defeat can issue such frantic calls,” said Leoncio Evasco Jr., Duterte’s national campaign manager.
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