MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday said he will accept it as part of his “destiny” if he would not be able to complete his six-year term.
Duterte has repeatedly shrugged off the idea of being ousted from office due to impeachment or military coup, amid mounting criticisms of his controversial war on drugs and foreign policy both here and abroad.
“Sabi nila, ‘ay ‘yan mawala ‘yan i-impeach.’ Ako taya ako honor, buhay, pati ang pagka-Presidente ko. Huwag ninyo akong takutin ‘yang mga taga-Manila na mag-rally kayo next year paalisin niyo ‘yan. Kasi pag napaalis ako, that is part of my destiny,” Duterte said in a speech in Batanes where he visited victims of Typhoon Ferdie.
(They say ‘ah, he will be impeached soon.’ I stake my honor, life, and my presidency. Don’t threaten me, especially those of you in Manila, that you will hold rallies against me. Because if I get ousted, that is part of my destiny.)
“Ganun ‘yan, so do not magsabi na Duterte sa mga newspaper na warningan ako, mag-kudeta mag ano. Kasali ‘yan sa destiny ko na kung ma-Presidente ako ng dalawang buwan lang, dalawang taon, that is part of what destiny, what God gave me. Hanggang diyan ka lang, tapos. So hayaan kong takutin ‘yan mga mag-kudeta, magkudeta paalisin tapos people power, ay anak ka na ng.
(That’s how it works, so don’t say in the newspapers that I could be ousted through a military coup. It’s part of my destiny, of what God gave me, if I will only get to stay in power for two months, two years. So don’t threaten me with a coup or people power.)
Duterte’s remarks may have been prompted by the statement earlier this month of United States Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel, who hinted of the possible repercussions of a possible break of ties between the US and Philippines.
"I think it would be a serious mistake in a democratic country like the Philippines to underestimate the power of the public's affinity for the U.S. That's people power," Russel said in an interview with the Associated Press.
Since assuming the presidency, Duterte has adopted a sharp rhetoric towards the US, the Philippines’ long-time treaty ally.
Duterte’s insults towards the US and its president, Barack Obama, were largely prompted by the superpower’s criticisms of the mercurial leader’s war on drugs. The tough-talking leader has also pointed to the past abuses of the US against the Philippines, its former colony.
Duterte has accused the Central Intelligence Agency of plotting to kill him, an allegation the Virginia-based agency has denied.
The US has so far not given a response to Duterte’s recent tirades, with American officials simply affirming the long-standing ties between the two Pacific nations.
Duterte has signaled that he wants closer ties between the Philippines and China, despite the latter’s blockade and island-building activities in the South China Sea.
An arbitral tribunal ruled in July that China cannot lay claim to almost the entire sea.
China was furious over the tribunal’s ruling, which was a product of a case initiated by Duterte’s predecessor Benigno Aquino III.
In a sudden shift in the Philippines’ China policy, Duterte is set to visit Beijing next week in an attempt to soften the ruling’s blow to the two countries’ ties.