MANILA - Senator Juan Ponce Enrile on Tuesday said Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is simply telling the public who he really is.
Enrile said Duterte, whom he called an "astute" politician, is just challenging the roughness and smoothness of Philippine society.
The senator said the people should be the ones to decide amid criticisms of the presidential aspirant's ways.
"Si Rody Digong astute politician. Everybody is curious about [him]... Let the people judge," said Enrile.
"He is challenging the roughness and smoothness of Philippine society," he added.
Duterte, who is running for president under the PDP-Laban, on Monday came under fire for cursing Pope Francis after he allegedly got caught in a traffic jam during the Catholic leader's visit in the Philippines in January.
"From the hotel to the airport, alam mo inabot kami ng... limang oras. Sabi ko bakit? Sabi pinasarado daw," he said during his speech at the Century Park hotel where he was formally declared PDP-Laban standard bearer.
Duterte said a friend told him that the traffic jam was caused by the Pope's arrival.
"Gusto kong tawagan, 'Pope p******"
The tough-talking mayor, however, later denied cursing at Pope Francis, saying he was cursing at the way the government handled the security preparations that led to closures of some roads resulting to massive traffic jams in the metro.
"I never said p**** mo Pope. I said 't****, huwag ka na pumunta dito,'" he clarified. "You travel for five hours for five kilometers, you don't use your heads! You allow people to endure hardships!"
Duterte, in his speech, also revealed how he deals with lawbreakers, citing a case wherein he set on fire a group of men who abducted and repeatedly raped a Chinese girl.
READ: Duterte warns outlaws: 'I can eat your heart in front of you'
"Lahat tayo we have a dark side, we have good deeds. But do not ever think that you can monopolize evil in this country. Kung anong kaya mong gawin, kaya ko ring gawin 10 times over," he said.
"Kung kaya mong kainin iyang tao sa harap mo, I can slash open your body and eat you heart in front of you. Kapital ko lang asin, kakainin ko sikmura mo."
READ: CBCP head rebukes Duterte for cursing Pope
Juan Ponce Enrile, Rodrigo Duterte, halalan2016, 2016 elections, presidential elections, Pope Francis, traffic, cursing, crime, extrajudicial killing