MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte gave a stern warning to communists that he will do whatever it takes to ensure "order."
"I am ready to do anything to establish order. I'm not threatening you but kung sumunod kayo diyan sa (but if you follow) Kadamay...Kung ganoon ang style niyo (If that's your style), you create disorder, remember what I have told you," he said on Wednesday, October 24.
He was giving a speech during the ceremony conferring National Artist and National Living Treasure awards in Malacañang.
"I will put at stake my presidency, my honor my life and even my presidency...Do not force me to choose whatever that is," he added.
Duterte's warning comes as he and the military continue to claim an ouster plot against his administration supposedly jointly organized by the Left and the opposition.
"Hamunin ko kayo (I challenge you), let's do it. You want to try tonight? Do it. And I will call the police and military to do what is necessary to place you where you should belong. Go back to where you came from, or you want inside the coffin? Fine," said the President.
Chiding the military
But in the same speech, Duterte also had strong words for the military.
He scoured mutineers for supposedly ending their rebellion only to return the government to politicians backed by powerful elites who abuse public funds.
"You have maybe staged so many coup d'etats, mutiny, and everything. Ang problema sa inyo, everytime there is a successful revolution, sinasauli ninyo yung power ng tao...ibibigay niyo ulit sa pulitiko at alam mo naman kung sino ang nasa likod," he said.
(The problem with you is, everytime there is a successful revolution, you return the power of the people to...you give it to the politicians and you know who is behind them.)
He described those behind such politicians as "the rich people who are able to maintain their alliances with government to milk more money."
The Commander-in-Chief then advised soldiers to plan their next "revolutionary government" better.
"Next time, if you want a revolutionary government, or if you want, sleep on it, think about it... It's also your fault. You had a chance to really change the country, but you did not," he said.
Duterte started rebuking the military, which he used to have only praises for, after he sensed some of its personnel were siding with his critic Senator Antonio Trillanes IV. Duterte earlier issued Proclamation No 572 which voided Trillanes' amnesty.
In early September, he dared the military to oust him if they found him unfit for office. He has combined this with remarks about being ready to resign as President.
He repeated this in his Wednesday speech.
"Just say so and I will step down, if you can provide the remedy of what ails this country," he said. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at email@example.com.