Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday, February 7 said that the country will never reach any progress if he refrains from using a “dictatorial style” of leadership.
Speaking before former communist rebels in Malacañang, Duterte said he needed to act like a dictator for the sake of the country’s development.
“Sabi mo diktador, diktador talaga ako. Kapag hindi ako naging diktador, p*t*ng *na, wala magyayari sa bayan na ‘to. Totoo (You say dictator, well I’m really a dictator. If I don’t become a dictator, son of a b****, nothing will happen to this country. It’s true),” the president said.
He continued, “Kung ‘di ako mag-diktador ngayong style ko na ‘to ngayon, walang mangyayari sa bayan natin (If I don’t use my dictatorial style now, nothing will happen to our country).”
Duterte made the remarks weeks before the country’s commemoration of the 32nd EDSA People Power Revolution on February 25, a non-violent and bloodless revolution which ended the regime of late President Ferdinand Marcos as the country’s dictator.
Opposition lawmakers have constantly expressed fear that the proposed shift to a federal form of government might pave way for Duterte’s possible dictatorship.
Earlier in January, Senator Leila De Lima also warned that the constitutional democracy might be replaced with “constitutional authoritarianism” amid the impeachment moves against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales.
“The weakening of the independent institutions of our system of checks and balance always precedes the coming of a dictatorship,” said De Lima, a top critic of the administration.
More recently, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) also expressed fears of a “creeping dictatorship” amid efforts of Duterte’s allies to amend the 1987 Constitution.
But Malacañang dismissed Duterte’s supposed “creeping dictatorship” as a “far-fetched idea”
Duterte had repeatedly said in the past that he has no intention of going beyond his 6 -year term. Rather than retaining his position, Malacañang claimed the president prefers to step down ahead of the expiration of his tenure.
In a speech last month, the president has also ordered the military and the police to “shoot him” if he became a dictator or stayed in power beyond his term ending in 2022.