DAVAO City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte stands for order, not violence, his running mate Senator Alan Peter Cayetano said Sunday.
Cayetano’s statement came as Duterte promised to kill up to 100,000 criminals and stamp out criminality during his first 100 days if he is elected president, and create a lucrative market for funeral parlors nationwide.
Responding to reporters who asked if summary executions of criminals would continue under his presidency, Duterte said: “Put up a funeral parlor—just not a high-end one.”
Duterte told Manila-based reporters to go around his city at night and assured them no criminal would bother them—or they would pay the price.
Cayetano on Sunday was responding to criticism from his opponent for the vice presidency, Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo of the ruling Liberal Party, who said they were able to develop Naga City the same way Duterte improved Davao without the mayor’s brand of leadership.
She warned that Duterte’s message of violence during the campaign would be dangerous.
Duterte said just as Robredo disapproves of his leadership style, he feels the same toward her own leadership brand.
“I do not also subscribe to the style of her leadership. She does not like me, I do not like her. So no problem,” the mayor said.
Cayetano said Robredo was wrong to compare Davao City with Naga.
“With all due respect to Representative Leni, I think she is wide off the mark on this one. Davao’s crime volume is way below that of Naga or Metro Manila, which are currently at alarming levels. This despite Davao City being bigger compared to Metro Manila and Naga, and home to a diverse population composed of Christians, Muslims, other ethnic groups and groups of opposing ideologies,” Cayetano said.
“Instead of attacking Mayor Duterte, let’s duly recognize his accomplishments, learn and find ways how his success can be replicated in other cities,” Cayetano added.
Cayetano noted that many of those who are moved by Mayor Duterte’s leadership are inspired by his achievements in promoting peace and good governance.
“They are certainly not advocates of violence as many of them are in fact victims of crime,” Cayetano said.
“What they want is a leader with bold solutions and swift action, a leader that will restore order, rule of law and equality. This is what Mayor Duterte and his brand of leadership bring,” he said.
To effectively address the issue of rising criminality, Cayetano called for an end to “pointless political bickering” and instead work collectively in making the Philippines a safe place for Filipinos.
“Let us not resort to demolition. Let’s just work together in making our country safe for our people. This country needs a brave solution and swift action. It’s not easy to avert criminality and arrest criminals, but Mayor Duterte did this. He can also do this in the whole country,” he added.
Hours after he filed his Certificate of Candidacy for president through his lawyer at the Commission on Elections, Duterte faced House reporters and admitted he has a “dark side” as a leader and is known for being a womanizer as well as a killer of criminals.
“In my first 100 days in office, I will simultaneously deal with criminality and graft and corruption,” Duterte declared. “I will not try to look clean here. I have my dark side, the usual—women, killing, they are but normal. I am the mayor here, I engage them in gunfights. I really kill them.”
He brushed aside accusations of violating the human rights of suspects.
“That’s their concern. I don’t care if they file cases against me. For as long as my people are safe, I don’t mind the legal cases,” he said.
In 2012, a Commission on Human Rights investigation found probable cause to recommend that the Office of the Ombudsman file murder charges against Duterte.
But the Ombudsman limited its investigation to police officers linked to the summary killings and found 21of them only guilty of “simple neglect of duty.”
On Sunday, senatorial candidate and Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez said Duterte exhibited the compassion or malasakit that Filipinos wanted from their leaders.
“I am one with Mayor Duterte in pushing transparency and accountability in public service that will truly care and genuinely serve the poorest of the poor. Let us bring back compassion to public service and the discipline in obeying the law to bring about peace and order. These are my commitments to Duterte and the Filipino people,” Romualdez said.
Romualdez, president of Lakas-CMD, thanked Duterte for choosing him as one of the guest candidates for senator of the PDP-Laban, Duterte’s party.
“I am deeply humbled and honored for the support to us by Mayor Duterte,” Romualdez, a former chairman of the House committee on ethics, said.