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Rody: PNoy’s straight path was crooked

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PRESIDENT-ELECT Rodrigo Duterte tore into outgoing President Benigno Aquino III Monday, saying that rampant corruption in his administration had turned his straight path crooked.

“Why is the straight path never straight?” Duterte told his supporters in Davao City, addressing them as mayor for the last time at a flag ceremony at city hall. “It’s supposed to be straight, right?”

Duterte also bristled at Aquino’s suggestions that he had dictatorial tendencies.

“Sometimes I can be harsh, but I was never a despot to anybody,” said Duterte, who has been criticized by the United Nations and human rights and religious groups for his plan to revive the death penalty and allegations that he was linked to summary executions as mayor of Davao.

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President-elect Rodrigo Duterte delivers a speech before city hall employees in Davao City, three days before taking oath as president. Duterte criticized ëstupidí human rights campaigners, as he defended his imminent war on crime and emphasized that the death penalty was for retribution. AFP

“My government is for the helpless, the hopeless and the defenseless,” Duterte said. “Those are the words of my father. I just borrowed them from him.”

He added that corruption was so prevalent during the Aquino administration that officials routinely used government resources to advance their own political interests.

In contrast, Duterte said, he never used his position for personal gain.

Unlike his predecessor, Duterte said that he would not want his Cabinet members to run for office after his six years as president.

“I told my Cabinet members: Do not launch a campaign here in the office. If you have plans to whatever, do not do it here in my Cabinet,” he said.

Aquino actively campaigned for former Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, who ran for president but lost.

Duterte said he wanted to avoid the practice of officials using government resources to build a name for themselves.

“I don’t want my Cabinet secretaries to run because [they] will just use the public funds, the time and the effort of the government just to campaign to win,” he said.

Liberal Party candidates were accused of using government resources during the campaign for the May 9 elections.

Duterte also said he would stop crime and corruption in his administration.

“It has to stop. I am hell-bent in stopping corruption. I really do not want it. That is what you need to remember because you’ll never get any help from me if you face [corruption] cases,” he added. 

“There will be no corruption. If you are a Cabinet secretary and you are corrupt, I will just whisper, please go,” he said.

Aquino, in a speech before graduates of the Ateneo de Manila University on Saturday,  chided Duterte without naming him.

“The dictatorship is over, but we cannot stop being involved in social issues,” Aquino said in Filipino. “According to Liberation Theology, if you do not fight an oppressive structure, you are supporting it.”

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. later denied that Aquino was referring to Duterte.

Duterte’s son, Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, said it was Aquino who turned the country into a dictatorship.

“Remember he is an oligarch. He and his kin ran this country like it’s theirs at the expense of the marginalized and the poor. They ran it like dictators in the shadows of democracy,” the younger Duterte said on his Facebook page.

“Will the next six years be a dictatorship? Yes. A dictatorship by the people, the ordinary Filipinos. The oppressed. We will seize this country back from the oligarchs, the powerful few. It is time. It is our time,” he added.

Aquino, who said during the campaign period that he would oppose the looming dictatorship under Duterte, is scheduled to step down at noon of June 30. With F. Pearl A. Gajunera

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