President Duterte hit back at critics for supposedly wanting him to commit “suicide” by asking him to meet super typhoon Rolly head-on last weekend.
The President made the sharp rebuke of his critics after defending anew his absence during the typhoon’s onslaught in his televised public address Thursday night.
Duterte explained that he was back in Davao City visiting his parents’ grave at the time as part of the annual tradition, adding that he went to inspect the calamity areas after the storm passed the next day.
“Ulitin ko lang sa mga taong ‘di alam. Umuwi ako sa probinsya sa Davao kasi araw ng patay. ‘Yun yung araw na kasagsagan ng dumaan ng bagyo (I’d like to repeat to the people who still don’t know. I went home to my province in Davao because it was All Saints’ day. That’s the day of the height of the typhoon),” he said in his remarks.
“Gusto ng iba nandito talaga eko pagdating ng bagyo. Gusto nila salubungin ko ‘yung bagyo. They want me to commit suicide also (Others wanted me to be here when the typhoon arrived. They want me to meet the typhoon head-on. They want me to commit suicide also),” he said.
As soon as the typhoon weakened, Duterte made an aerial inspection of Albay and Catanduanes Monday. He also dropped by Guinobatan town in Albay to talk to some residents affected by the storm. Afterwards, the President conducted a meeting with key government officials on disaster relief efforts following the destruction caused by the typhoon.
“I also had an accurate view of the destruction wrought about the typhoon,” he said.
Duterte also resented critics who have nothing to do but complain. He gave them a sarcastic advice on how they can also observe the annual tradition of All Saints’ Day.
“Magpatay kayo ng isang kamag-anak para pagdating ng All Souls’ Day nandoon ka rin sa lecheng sementeryo (Better kill a relative so when All Souls’ Day comes, you’re also in the cemetery). That’s a tradition and obligation for Filipinos,” he said.
Earlier, the President was nowhere in public sight when typhoon battered Bicol region and South Luzon last Sunday. He did not attend the government briefing held at the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council headquarters in Camp Crame that day. Instead, his spokesman Harry Roque led the televised public briefing about the disaster-related efforts. The hashtag #NasaanAngPangulo trended online as netizens noticed Duterte’s absence.
Duterte later addressed criticisms about his absence, saying he merely waited for the storm to pass to fly back to Manila. He claimed that work was still done even though he was in Davao City.
“Those who said that I was not here because I was in the province, so, what’s your problem? The documents were sent, I signed them and sent them back. Those can be done through a machine,” he said last Monday.