Duterte denies knowledge about Ayungin incident

Published June 6, 2018, 8:16 AM

by iManila Developer

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

President Duterte said he has no knowledge of the reported harassment on Filipino soldiers by Chinese forces in the Ayungin Shoal, despite Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Cayetano saying last week that Duterte gave him ‘strong instructions’ regarding the issue.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte listens to the query from one of the members of the media after delivering his arrival statement at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on June 5, 2018 following a successful three-day official visit to the Republic of Korea. KING RODRIGUEZ/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (KING RODRIGUEZ/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO/MANILA BULLETIN)

Duterte, in his arrival speech in Pasay City, seemed clueless when asked for his reaction about the issue, as he claimed that that was the first time he heard of the report.

“What kind of harassment in the first place before — before I commit myself to answer the question, what kind of harassment was this?” Duterte said Wednesday predawn.

Duterte said he would prefer to have more information on the matter first before commenting as he feared that it may cause a problem later on.

“I have to have a more… Not even… This is the first time I’ve heard of it,” he said.

“It would be dangerous for me to answer questions without really having the slightest idea of what it is all about,” he added.

Cayetano earlier told lawmakers that Duterte had given ‘strong instructions; after hearing about the harassment incident in Ayungin Shoal.

“We filed a protest regarding that. We had a meeting. The President had strong instructions,” said Cayetano after he was asked about the harassment incident.

No to war

President Duterte reiterated that he will not go to war with China over the disputed West Philippine Sea as it would result to the obvious defeat of the Philippines.

“We cannot afford a war at this time because it will result in a massacre. I am not prepared to lose my soldiers and policemen for a simple adventurism,” he said.

According to Duterte, the Philippines has been protesting about the issue every time a government official talks about it.

“Diplomatic protest every time we open our mouth, we are protesting actually,” he said.

Duterte also slammed experts who criticize his decisions about the disputed waters, saying that they have no idea how difficult his job is.

“It’s easy to postulate a theory. Maraming scholar na bright ang Pilipinas. Hindi nauubusan eh. Libo ‘yan (Philippines will never run out of bright scholars. There are thousands of them here),” he said.

“With the population of 105 million, you can easily say that there are about a million who’d want something more than just the dramatics. Kaya ba nila (But can they do it)? Are you being realistic or you are just indulging in a public display of brilliance)?” he added.

Duterte said that he would gladly relinquish his presidency to anyone who thinks they can resolve the issue. However, he said the law prohibits him to do so.

“Madali sabihin ‘yan kung hindi ka nakaupo dito. Eh kung gusto nila, sila ang umupo ng isang buwan tignan natin (That is easy to say because you are not the President. If they want, they can be President for a month and let’s see what happens),” he added.

“I’m willing if there is an opportunity in law or the Constitution, I’d be willing to let anybody run this country and solve all the things that you have been having qualms,” he continued.

Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio for criticizing his decision not to insist on the Philippines’ victory in its protest against China at the Tribunal Court.

“Kung mas bright itong mga justices, itong mga p***** i**** ‘to, siya ‘yung presidente ngayon. Hindi ako (If these justices are brighter than I am, then they should be President and not me),” he said.

“If you are smart more than enough you claimed to be, then why are you there? Why am I here?” he added.

Duterte earlier assured that he will raise the decision of the High Court with China before he finishes his term.

Joint exploration

Duterte also defended the ongoing talks for a joint exploration between the Philippines and China in the disputed West Philippine Sea.

“Now, there is an offer for a joint exploration and others would say that it’s unconstitutional. By what standard?” he asked.

“Can’t a country go into a business just because there is a pending issue of jurisdiction?” he added.

Duterte earlier said that it would be better to have a joint exploration in the disputed waters than go to war against China.

Ousting

Duterte also revealed that he cannot just send the Philippine forces to the West Philippine Sea as it may lead to them ousting him as President.

“If all of my soldiers will die there and all of the policemen to assist them, nadisgrasya ang Pilipinas, sino ang managot (It would be trouble for the Philippines. Who will answer for it)? I,” he said.

“The people will execute me right at the Luneta. If I do that, I either I am inviting trouble within my country or the military and police will oust me,” he added.

Duterte said Philippine soldiers would rather kill him than go on a suicide mission.

“Hindi ‘yan preparado silang (They are not prepared to) go into a suicide. You would rather dispense me rather than lose their soldiers unnecessarily and needlessly,” he said.

“Sinong g***** susunod sa iyo (Do you think there is an idiot who will follow such order)? This is an armed forces of service not suicide,” he added.

“They will not spare me. They are there because we are the duly constituted authorities of the Cabinet running government. But so long as you do not ask for an impossible, they will obey,” he continued.

 
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