MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte admitted he is a dictator, but he said he had to be one to put the country in order.
“If you say dictator, I will be dictator. Because if I will not be a dictator, nothing will happen to this country,” Duterte said in Bisaya during a speech in front of former communist rebels in Malacañang.
“I had to. Besides you have chosen me as your President. Why won't you follow me when my dreams are all for you?”
In previous speeches, Duterte had denied that he was turning into a dictator just like the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos.
In a speech late last month, Duterte even told the military to shoot him if he exceeds his term and turns into a dictator.
“Inyong trabaho 'yan, to protect the Constitution, and to protect the people. Remember it as a solemn duty. Kaya ako ‘pag sumobra, gusto kong mag-diktador, barilin ninyo ako. Hindi ako nagbobola,” he said.
Critics, however, have said his policies, such as the declaration of martial law in Mindanao and the controversial war on drugs, were authoritarian in nature.