By Genalyn Kabiling
It’s not the style of President Duterte to order the ambush of anyone including his rivals, Malacañang said Wednesday.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo made the statement after downplaying Duterte’s comment about the ambush of drug-tainted former police general as a mere joke.
“He can never order the ambush of anybody – that’s not his style,” Panelo said during an interview with reporters at the Palace.
“Kung iyong mga personal na mga kalaban niya hindi niya pinapa-ambush kahit na anong gawin sa kaniya, eh lalo pa iyong hindi naman niya kaaway [He does even order the ambush of his personal enemies regardless of what they do to him, much more those who are not his enemies],” he added.
He said the President is a “good prosecutor and a good lawyer” who knows the consequences of his statements.
The President, speaking at the oath-taking of new government officials in Malacanang last Tuesday night, claimed that he was behind the ambush attempt on former Daanbantayan, Cebu Mayor Vicente Loot last year. Loot is among the former police generals identified by the President for alleged involved in illegal drugs in 2016.
Panelo initially used the President’s poor Filipino language proficiency for his ambush comment in a statement released Wednesday morning.
In an interview with reporters in the afternoon, he claimed the President explained that he was just joking about the incident.
“Sabi nga niya kanina, ‘Eh sila naman, palagi ko nang sinasabi iyan. Alam naman nila na ever since, nagbibiro ako diyan tungkol diyan, apart from ‘yung kung minsan iba ang nasasabi ko’ [He said earlier that ‘I’ve often said that. They should know that ever since I’m joking about that, apart from occasions that I say something else],” Panelo said.
“Consistent siya sa mga pagbibiro niya at ‘yung pagkakamali niya sa Pilipino ay natural sa kanya. hindi naman niye. It’s not his native tongue [He is consistent with his jokes and it’s natural for him to make mistakes in Pilipino. It’s not his native tongue],” he added.