President Duterte has told graduating students at his old university that he was forced to miss his ceremony after shooting a fellow student.
The president told the San Beda University graduates that he envied them for being able to attend the ceremony, which was denied him by school authorities after the campus shooting incident in 1972.
In his commencement speech yesterday (Wednesday, May 30), the president also described how he later had to beg on his knees for forgiveness from his mother for keeping the shooting a secret.
“I am actually jealous of you because I was not allowed by the brothers and the priests to graduate,” he said.
“In the last days of our year, we’re practicing, suddenly there was this happening inside the school,” he said, referring to the shooting, which saw him expelled before he could graduate.
However, he kept this expulsion a secret from his mother, who kept asking when she needed to fly from Davao City to Manila to attend his graduation.
The president said he told his mother that the graduation ceremonies had been cancelled due to “chaotic” conditions under martial law.
Years later, when he was mayor of Davao City, some of his old teachers from San Beda were visiting Davao City and decided to make a house call.
However, as the president was on business in Taiwan at the time, they were greeted by his mother instead.
When Mrs Duterte asked about the cancelled graduation, one of the visitors let slip the secret.
Describing the scene, the president said: “He said, ‘Why, did your son tell you the truth?’ My mother said, ‘What is the truth?’ He said, ‘He was expelled because he shot someone inside San Beda’,”.
His words were met with gales of laughter from the assembled students.
The president then recounted how he was later confronted by his irate mother. He said he kneeled in front of her asking for forgiveness, explaining that he did not want her to worry.
The president did not identify the student who he had shot.
However, he did mentioned the episode during the presidential campaign, and said he wanted to teach the victim person a lesson for bullying him over his Visayan background.
As we reported last November, the president has also claimed that he stabbed somebody to death when he was a 16-year-old.