MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte vowed Friday that he would protect every Filipino's right to vote this coming May by ensuring a fair and honest elections.
Duterte, in an interview on state television PTV, said he would treat friends and foes equally by staying "neutral." The President earlier ruled out backing any candidate for the country's top post.
"Pati si Lorenzana, nag-usap kami kahapon na talagang diretsahan. That this election under me would be walang takutan, vote-buying pero hindi mo man matago yan. Itong takutan, patayan, tapos puwersahin mo sarili mo," the chief executive said in an interview special with PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar.
He added that he also asked law enforcement authorities to uphold the Constitution in "producing a clean and honest elections," warning politicians who would plan otherwise.
"Gusto mong maging mayor ka, maging governor, na gusto mo dito banda walang election, you create an artificial scenery there na maging yung environment will not be conducive for a fair and honest elections, maghanap ka ng ibang presidente 'wag sa panahon ko," he said.
"I will be neutral and the military and the police will see to it that the Constitution, the mandated by the Constitution upon their shoulders, will produce a clean and honest elections."
The chief executive last year said he would call on the military to ensure that the rule of law would be implemented in the upcoming polls.
The Philippine National Police in late January, meanwhile, vowed to arrest those threatening or harassing journalists this May elections.
Violence and cheating tactics have marred past elections in some areas in the Philippines.
In 2018, data from the Philippine National Police showed the number of politically motivated killings doubled compared to 2017 as the 2018 election period drew nearer.