Duterte quips he killed for Arroyo when she was still president

Published July 10, 2019, 3:28 PM

by Martin Sadongdong & Antonio Colina

By Genalyn Kabiling 

President Duterte enthusiastically praised former President and House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for her “brilliant” public service and even candidly confessed killing for her.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte shares a light moment with House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo during the appreciation dinner for the House Speaker at The Manila Hotel on July 9, 2019.  (ACE MORANDANTE / PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte shares a light moment with House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo during the appreciation dinner for the House Speaker at The Manila Hotel on July 9, 2019.
(ACE MORANDANTE / PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

During an appreciation dinner for the former leader held at the Manila Hotel Tuesday night, the former Davao City mayor joked that he killed people because he thought Arroyo wanted it.

“Bilib ako sa iyo, ma’am, kasi you might want to know that even when I was mayor and for the years that President Arroyo was there, I was really working for her,” Duterte said in his remarks.

“Of course wala akong pinatay na tao na utos niya. Pinatay ko na lang kasi feeling ko gusto niya [Of course I didn’t kill under her direct orders. I just killed because I felt like she wanted me to],” he said, drawing laughter from the audience.

The President paid tribute to Arroyo during the celebration attended by her family and allies, saying she remains a “true living icon in Philippine politics and an embodiment of strong political will.”

Duterte, however, bared that Arroyo, known for strict and decisive leadership, was “hard to deal with” during her presidency.

He said Arroyo used to call him in the wee hours of the morning “just to listen to me and to seek my advice.”

“My dealings with my president during my mayorship days eh trabaho lang ho ‘yon, ma’am [That’s work, Ma’am}. And I said you are hard to deal with at nagagalit. At naiintindihan ho namin lahat, ako [You get angry and we all understand that],” he said.

The former President wrapped up her 27 years in government service after her three-year term as Pampanga lawmaker. Prior to her stint in the House of Representatives, she served as the country’s president from 2001 to 2010.

“Madam President, we raise our glasses tonight for the invaluable contributions that you have made as a public servant,” Duterte said in leading the toast for Arroyo.

“May your legacy shine through and inspire millions of Filipinos as we move forward in realizing our dream of building a better and more prosperous Philippines for all,” he said.

Duterte said he intended to follow Arroyo’s “strong-willed leadership and decisive governance” to make the country stronger.

“When Madam Arroyo was President, she envisioned to make sure the Philippines a ‘Strong Republic.’ Ganito rin. That’s also my sloganeering. I always said that my oath of office, reduce it in a very simple term is that: I swore to protect the people and preserve the Republic of the Philippines,” Duterte said.

 
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