(Eagle News) — President Rodrigo Duterte called on all candidates running for public office to shun violence and let the people exercise their right to vote freely in the face of reports of election violence in some areas.
“So you just be careful allow everybody to vote freely, this is a democracy. This is an exercise of the right of the people to choose their leader. Iyan ang mandato ng Constitution natin so we just follow,” he said during a recent campaign rally in Bohol.
“Kami naman sa Mindanao my experience is that it is really a hot activity for all but wala mi anang ingon nga mupatay og kontra, ipa-ambush. Binuang man gud na. (But we don‘t kill our opposition or have them ambushed. That‘s insane.),” the President said.
The 74-year old Philippine leader recalled his promise to ensure free and clean elections during his administration.
“And I promised the people that kaning election and every other election that will take place during my time, my watch na — you just follow rules. It‘s when you start to break rules man gud mao nang (that‘s when it starts to) magka-leche (become problematic),” he said.
During the campaign rally Wednesday in Bohol, the President said he had to drop by Negros Occidental before going to Bohol to confront a mayor suspected of fomenting mayhem.
“Well, there’s a certain mayor that’s really the suspect of everybody. So, I confronted the mayor. I talked to him,” the President said in his speech.
“Sundin mo lang ‘yung batas at walang problema,” the President said.
-Duterte to AFP, PNP: Remain neutral-
Duterte also reminded the members of the Armed Forces and the police to remain neutral during the campaign period and election day itself.
And while the members of his cabinet can campaign for candidates whom they support, the President said he barred them from being partisan to avoid controversy.
Cabinet members must act with delicadeza and must refrain from campaigning for anybody through the use of government resources, the President said.
The President also pitched for his local bets in Bohol Wednesday night, campaigning for former Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr, his longtime aide and friend. Evasco, who is pitted against House Rep. Arthur Yap, is running for Bohol governor.
Calling Evasco “a brilliant guy,” the President told Boholanos that the former cabinet secretary is a staunch graft fighter.
“If there’s corruption, I let him handle it. And for the longest time, he was the city engineer of Davao,” he said.
Evasco was a three-term mayor of Maribojoc town before he joined President Duterte’s Cabinet. He was also President Duterte’s campaign manager during the 2016 presidential election.
Also present during the campaign rally were Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, former Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, Garcia-Hernandez Mayor Tita Baja-Gallentes, and Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Dino. (with a PND report)