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Duterte limits cellphone use, thinks he is bugged

by Genalyn D. Kabiling

President Duterte has limited his mobile phone use due to concerns of possible surveillance by political rivals and other countries.

The President has identified the United States, China, and Russia as among those probably eavesdropping on his phone calls.

“I do not make calls,” the President said during a recent visit to the Ozamiz City police headquarters.

“Alam mo, ‘pag naggamit ako ng cellphone, sino ang nakikinig? Ang Amerika, China, Russia. Pati ‘yung nandito mga kalaban mo, nakikinig lahat ‘yan,” he said.

The President made the revelation in trying to explain he does not interfere with the police work, such as the case implicating several cops to the killing last year inside the Leyte sub-provincial jail in Baybay City of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. suspected of drug involvement.

“Kaya ‘yang Albuera na ‘yan, hindi ako tumatawag, ni hindi ko nga alam ang cellphone ni Bato (Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald M. dela Rosa),” he said.

He said when Justice Secretary Vitaliano N. Aguirre II told him about the criminal complaint against the concerned policemen, he did not meddle in the case.

Instead, the President offered to protect the policemen performing their duty, saying he would pardon them if convicted in court.

“Ngayon sabi nila si Albuera mayor walang baril. Wala akong pakialam diyan. Ang sabi ng pulis, may baril. Diyan ako maniwala sa inyo,” he said.

“Ang warning ko lang: Do not lie to me. Just tell me the truth because there is always a remedy. In the performance of duty, wala kayong problema,” he said.