Duterte mulls resignation after BIFF attack in Maguindanao

There is "no reason to stay" if the government is unable to provide peace and security for the people, according to President Duterte.

President Duterte delivers a speech during a visit to a military camp in Maguindanao on May 11, 2021 (Malacañang)

In his visit to Maguindanao Tuesday, the President made another offer to relinquish his post this time over the lingering security threats in the south.

Dismayed by the latest attack of Islamic militants in Maguindanao, Duterte said he was prepared to resign if he could not provide the "barest minimum of a peaceful place" in the south.

The President earlier threatened to launch an all-out offensive against the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) elements for their "full-blown terrorism" if the local leaders could not help quell the threat. The rebel group seized a public market in Datu Paglas, Maguindanao last weekend but fled the area after a brief clash with government troops.

"I have seen the strife, how it would have prevented the development of Mindanao. Ang ayaw ko diyan ‘yong civilian tinatakot, ginagawang hostage. Anong klase? (I don't want the civilians being threatened, made hostages. What kind of government?) So ‘pag ganoon ang gobyerno ko, mag-resign na lang ako, sa totoo lang (If that's my government, I would rather resign)," the President said during a visit to a military camp in Maguindanao.

"Hindi ako atat na atat talagang maging presidente (I am not eager to become president). But if I cannot at least the barest minimum of a peaceful place, then I have no reason to stay. It would be a failure," he said.

Duterte said he must be "frank and humble" enough to admit if his efforts to improve the peace situation would not be sufficient. "And then when the peaceful environment disappears, there is war and people will suffer. And there will be more deaths and horror of the war. Who will stop it? I don’t know," he said.

The President has urged the Bangsamoro government officials to help address the BIFF threat or else he might be forced to order the military to launch full offensives against the group. Duterte made the appeal after expressing sadness over the terror sowed on the people of Maguindanao.

"Just imagine the horror of the people there, running back and forth. Is that the kind of government that I can give to the people?" he said.

Duterte said people could even ask for his resignation if he could not do his job related to peace and security.

"Sabi ko kung hindi ko kaya, p***** i** mag --- magre-resign ako (I said if I cannot do it, son of b***, I will resign))," he said.

"Then you can demand my resignation and maybe I will consider it na hindi ko talaga kaya, palitan ka (that I cannot do it. I can be replaced)," said Duterte, who will end his six-year term in June 2022.