President Duterte has dared critics of his war on drugs to stage an uprising against him.
“Go ahead,” he told a press conference. “I am waiting for that actually. So that there will be a change of president and everything.
“And perhaps the new generation will come up with something that is — a government that is really working.”
Speaking amid growing opposition to his drug war following the shooting of 17-year-old Kian Delos Santos, the president said he would give up power if asked by Army chief Eduardo Año.
“A coup d’état? That’s not necessary,” he said. “All Año has to do, or the commanding generals of the Armed Forces, all they have to do is to come here or tell me, ‘You step down.’ I will give it,” said during the late-night press briefing in the Malacañang on Monday (August 21).
“If the military wants to follow me, then follow. If not, then tell me. Maybe you can do better,” he added.
The president said there was no need for the military to fight against the Presidential Security Group, which is responsible for protecting the president and his family.
“They’re all soldiers. They were classmates at the PMA (Philippine Military Academy). Why would you kill each other? Just say it if you want it. You want a junta? Go ahead and I will swear them into office,” he said.
The president made the comments after some of those protesting against the killing of the teenager in Caloocan used the Filipino word “himagsikan” — “revolt” — to describe their protest.
“Let’s have an upheaval. But since I am in government, we will really be enemies. But do it. I will be glad if you do it. Upheaval? You want to war against government? Go ahead,” the president said.
“Do it. I will be glad if you do it because actually the system here is rotten and government also.”
On Monday, protesters held mass actions in Caloocan City and at the Edsa People’s Power Monument in Manila to protest against the shooting of Delos Santos.
“I am encouraging you to take to the streets. Everybody… If you want that, go ahead. You have my blessing. Nobody will stop you in the streets,” the president said.
“But if you take violence as your option, I said go ahead, and let us find out… If I find or found out later that I am the only one defending the government, then I would be happy to go down.
“There’s no problem… I have no illusions about staying for five years.”
As we reported yesterday, the Patriotic and Democratic Movement (Padem), which claims to represent soldiers and policemen, called for the president to be ousted for betraying public trust, allowing Beijing to occupy the South China Sea, and inciting the police to commit extrajudicial killings.