By Argyll Geducos
Malacañang said President Duterte’s anger over a supposed serial rapist in Quezon province prompted his desire to have another televised one-on-one interview with his spokesman.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo told reporters in Malacañang that a series of rape incidents reported in the province was one of the reasons Duterte wanted to have the interview.
“I think that’s the thing that triggered his instruction to have the one-on-one interview. Because he noticed in that part of this country, there have been reports of rapes and the victims being killed,” he said Monday.
Early this week, Duterte raised his concern about the rape cases in Quezon province, telling authorities to look for the suspect and not let him live.
The President also ordered Philippine National Police (PNP) officer-in-charge Gen. Archie Gamboa to do something about it and profile persons who could be the possible “serial rapist” preying on young girls in the province.
However, a day after Duterte gave his order on Monday, a rape suspect was found dead inside his cell in Candelaria, Quezon.
In his press briefing, Panelo said Duterte’s remarks had no connection with the inmate’s death and that the incident should be investigated. “No. I don’t think so (connection). That should be investigated kung bakit (why he died).”
Panelo said early this week that he will have another live one-on-one interview with the President soon to talk about matters of national concern. On Thursday, he said his têtê-a-têtê with the President will take place possibly on Jan. 22.
“Marami. Lahat na. Sabi niya kasi sa akin (We will talk about a lot of things. He told me: ‘I want to discuss many things and I want the Filipino people to listen to what I’m going to say.’ Lahat na (All) current issues.”
Duterte and Panelo last had a one-one-one interview in September 2018 upon the President’s return from his historic trip to Israel and Jordan. Back then, Duterte discussed several topics but mainly talked about his critic, former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, after the President revoked the amnesty granted to him, saying it was void ab initio.
The other issues Duterte tackled were the supposed ouster plots against him, martial law in Mindanao, the re-opening of Boracay, the entry of a third telecommunications company, inflation, and the rice supply crisis.
In a radio interview in September 2018, Panelo said the televised têtê-a-têtê that lasted for one hour and 30 minutes was President Duterte’s idea. He added that Duterte must have wanted to have the interview because he felt his interviews with the media were always short.