By Arjay L. Balinbin, Reporter
“BE CAREFUL with that woman. She can oust even the Speaker. She operated in Davao.”
This was what President Rodrigo R. Duterte said about his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, as he addressed business leaders at a conference in Manila on Thursday, Oct. 18.
There has been much speculation about Ms. Carpio’s alleged role in the ouster of former House speaker Pantaleon D. Alvarez of Davao del Norte’s 1st District, who was replaced by former president and incumbent Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of Pampanga’s 2nd District on Mr. Duterte’s State of the Nation Address on July 23. Mr. Duterte’s remarks on Thursday were his first time to acknowledge that role.
The President also expressed confidence in the election victory of his former special assistant, Christopher Lawrence “Bong” T. Go, whom he accompanied when Mr. Go filed his certificate of candidacy.
On his son Paolo’s running for congressman, Mr. Duterte said, “I cannot stop him. He’s already old.” He noted that Paolo Z. Duterte stepped down from his post as vice-mayor of Davao City because of humiliation over his daughter Isabelle’s 18th birthday photo-shoot in Malacañang and the Senate probe on illegal drugs.
“Ayaw ko ng (I don’t like) dynasty, but we are forced,” he also said. Aside from Paolo, Ms. Carpio and her youngest brother, Sebastian, are also running in the 2019 elections.
On his youngest son, who is running for vice-mayor in his hometown, the President said: “Walang ginawa ‘yan sa buhay, mabuti mayroon na ngayon siguro (He has not done anything in life. Perhaps, he can do something now).”
He also questioned anew the credibility of the International Criminal Court (ICC) which is faced with “crimes against humanity” complaints filed against him. “Do not drag me to the ICC. I will not submit,” he said.
“If you are looking for a respectable statesman, [former] president (Fidel V.) Ramos is a statesman. He is better than [former president Joseph E.] Estrada and the incumbent,” the President said of both officials who were present during the event.
To investors, the President said: “I want you to tell me the truth. If you have something to say about corruption, talk to me and I will give you 100 percent satisfaction. You will be protected.”
He also mentioned about fixing the traffic situation on EDSA. “I commissioned some people early on to talk to Congress if I could borrow money to fix EDSA,” he said. “I realize I would have to work with everybody and the powers of the President (are) not that great.”