THE camp of presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte on Friday scoffed at President Benigno Aquino III’s verbal offensive against the Davao City mayor.
Leoncio Evaco Jr., Duterte’s national campaign manager, said just like Liberal Party standard bearer Manuel Roxas II, Aquino “cannot handle stress well,” and that the duo “are very much alike.”
He reacted after Aquino, in a campaign rally in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, criticized Duterte for saying that, if elected, he would resign if he could not eradicate crime in three to six months.
Evaco mad his statement even as Malacañang on Friday asked if Duterte would release “his death squads all over the country” to eradicate crime in three to six months into his presidency.
“Duterte is long on sound bite but short on implementation other than killing every child and adult offender,” Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a statement.
“He was mayor for 20 years and crime is still rampant,” Lacierda said.
“How can he expect crimes to be solved in three to six months? Will he release his death squads all over the country and spread the reign of terror all over the country?”
Evasco said the Aquino administration was “now in panic mode as its bet Roxas continued to suffer from one blunder to another.”
“The barrage of criticism generated by the ridiculous characterization of Roxas as a Typhoon “Yolanda” hero was just too much for Aquino to handle. Frightened, the President wants to deflect the attention of the public away from the shame.”
No matter how the President will attack the rivals of Roxas, the administration bet will remain a tailender in the presidential race, Evasco said.
“No amount of presidential verbal calisthenics will revive or salvage his chances of being elected.”
Peter Laviña, Duterte’s official spokesman, said Duterte had always maintained that his self-imposed deadline was not a cop-out or an easy way out but rather “a guarantee that something will be done about crime.”
“Every time he makes that promise, he explains that it is a self-imposed deadline and a guarantee that he will start working against crime on day one of his administration,” Laviña said.
Duterte’s deadline to stop drugs, crime and corruption was a “self-imposed deadline and a guarantee that something is already being done on day one of my administration.”
In all his campaign sorties, Duterte had pledged to bring about big changes once elected, and that he would step down if he failed.
“If I cannot solve the problem in three to six months, then not even 10 years will be enough. I will not add to the suffering of the Filipino people. If you elect me as president, then something will really happen,” Duterte said.
Laviña said Duterte had laid down a specific plan of action to order the police and the military to hunt down criminals and drug lords.
“If they offer any resistance to arrest, the order is to kill them so as to protect innocent civilians,” he said.