Days after threatening to kill “narco mayors” by unspecified means, Duterte has upped his game by warning crooked provincial governors that he will poison them.
The bizarre threat came as the president announced his intention to summon all 81 regional chief executives to the Malacañan to discuss his crusade against illegal drugs.
Addressing an audience of businessmen in his home city of Davao on Saturday (January 14) he said: “I’d be calling the governors next week. I’d really tell them, ‘you tell your barangay captains, you have supervisory powers on cities under you, those that are not yet charter cities, you tell the mayors’.”
While not normally a man to mince his words, he did concede that he could not “lecture” elected provincial governors. However, he said he planned to tell them: “Do not be complacent with me, sons of bitches. I will really kill you. Believe me. I will find you and ambush or I’ll poison you.”
The threat of poisoning is a new addition to the president’s lexicon of death, which until now has been limited to shooting, hanging and throwing people from moving helicopters.
Brandishing the by-now-familiar thick wedge of paper, he told the businessmen that his “narco list” contains the names of more than 5,000 government officials.
“This is the drug industry of the Philippines. Inside are the names of policemen, barangay captains, mayors and a few governors. This is it, complete with pictures.”
Last week, the president warned mayors involved in the drug trade that they would be killed if they didn’t resign. (See our report here). He said: “If your name is there, son of a bitch, you have a problem, I will really kill you. I might go down in history as ‘the butcher’. It’s up to you.”
The following day, he held two closed-door meetings with all the nation’s mayors, when he reportedly threatened and badmouthed the bad eggs among their number. None, however were killed.
Speaking of the meetings, the president said: “Maybe you think I am not serious. I called the mayors in the Philippines, locked them down. I really told them, it’s true, and I said, pardon my language… sons of bitches!
“What hurts me is I am thinking that you’ll protect the people,” he added, presumably referring to people involved in the drugs trade, rather than “the people” in general.
So far, the president has publicly revealed the names of some 160 serving and former government officials accused of being involved in illegal drugs and has passed his complete narco list to the House of Representatives, Senate and Supreme Court.
At Saturday’s Davao meeting, the president reiterated his determination to stamp out the drug trade, even if it cost him his job. He said: “If it causes my downfall, so be it. If I would be ousted, I’d be glad to go out. Coup d’état? Fine. But I won’t backtrack. I will finish this until the very last day. If it takes me six years, six years will be it.”
Striking a more humble tone, he added that even if he was “just from the province,” he was sincere in serving the country. “I might be really a small time boy. No credentials, impressive ones, no nothing. But what I have is just a basic sense of my love for my country and for my children.”