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Duterte: ‘I don’t want to be dictator’

He has pledged a strong and relentless campaign against crime and corruption but President Rodrigo Duterte has ruled out turning into a dictator.

After taking his oath as the country’s 16th president, Duterte has fended off speculations about his supposed dictatorial tendency, adding he is actually eager to ending his six year-term.

“I do not want to be a dictator. And for those who are talking about beyond my term, no second term,” the President said during the Philippine National Police (PNP) change of command ceremony in Quezon City last Friday.

“You just don’t know how I would be happy we can accelerate the time and we have done the six years already, on the last day. I am going out whether you like it or not,” he added.

The tough-talking former mayor of Davao City won a resounding victory in the last May elections after promising to suppress crime within the first six months in office. Some groups however have expressed concern about his alleged authoritarian style amid plans to launch a killing spree against drug lords and criminals.

In his inaugural speech last Thursday, Duterte vowed to stay within the bounds of the law in his “relentless” and “sustained” campaign against crime and corruption. He said he knows the limits of the power and authority of the president, adding that his adherence to the due process and the rule of law is “uncompromising.”

The President in his remarks before the policemen last Friday, also said he is ready to be impeached amid his battle to suppress crime and cleanse the PNP of scalawags. He said the policemen should focus on their duty to fight drug lords and other criminals, promising to give them higher salary, weapons and other funds to boost their capability.

“If they will try to impeach me, I will hurry up the process and we go out of the service together,” Duterte said.

Duterte likewise credited former President Fidel V. Ramos for inspiring him to run for president. He said Ramos was the first to convince him to seek the highest government post despite shortage of funds and political machinery.

Duterte, however, said he managed to win the presidential elections since he was the only presidential candidate that carried the “right” message on corruption, drugs and criminality. (GENALYN D. KABILING)