By GENALYN D. KABILING
PRESIDENT Duterte bared on Tuesday that the United States could be eavesdropping on his phone conversations amid an alleged plot to kill him.
Aware that his communication line has been tapped, the President said he has been advised by the military to use an old mobile phone instead of a modern smart phone to avoid interception.
“You know, my cell phone is tapped and everybody’s listening,” the President said before an assembly of mayors from Visayas in Cebu City. “Ang nakikinig sa akin is United States, sigurado ‘yan ang CIA. ‘Yan ang papatay sa akin ‘yang mga ulol na ‘yan,” he added.
Apart from the United States, the President identified other countries that could also be secretly listening to his phone calls.
“America, Russia, China, Israel maybe, and maybe Indonesia. Nakatutok ‘yan siya lahat sa mga leaders,” he said.
Duterte admitted that he was aware of clandestine wiretapping of communication lines since he knows how intelligence authorities work. “I know kasi napunta ako diyan sa loob. I am the one funding the equipments there, intelligence. Alam ko nakikinig ‘yan sila,” he said.
Duterte, however, said in jest that those spying on his phone would only hear him talking to a woman. “Wala akong tinatawagan. I hate…Lalo na lalaki. I don’t talk to men. Babae lalo na pagtulog,” he said.
The 73-year-old Duterte said he has avoided using new smart phones upon the advice of his security aides. “‘Yun na nga ang sabi ng mga sundalo sa akin noon, “Sir, huwag ka mag-gamit niyan. Ito nalang pindot-pindot kasi ito mahirap i-intercept.” Lalo na ‘yang pinaka old model,” he said.
Duterte also explained he was reluctant to use new smartphones since he was not tech-savvy. He admitted that he has difficulty learning how to operate a smart phone and now allows his close aides to manage his calls.
He recalled that he once used the “send all” feature of Viber and got into trouble with the ladies. “Kaya ako nandito sa Cebu, naghanap ako ng bagong listahan,” he said, drawing laughter from the crowd.
“Mga tatlong araw ako dito mag-ikot kasi maghanap ako ng new friends,” he added.