MANILA -- President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday dared all his critics to unite into one group so that he could easily focus on all of them.
The President issued the challenge during the relaunching of the newly-renovated press briefing room at the New Executive Building in Malacañang.
“I would be happy really if they would start to merge into one command. Itong mga komunista at itong Liberal. At ito ‘yung iba na gustong paalisin ako. Mag-isa-isa na lang kayo, isang grupo,” the President said.
Administration allies have accused the Liberal Party (LP) and left-leaning groups of engaging in a destabilization plot to oust President Duterte from office.
The Liberal Party has repeatedly denied the allegations.
“I think you share the same ideological whatever para hindi na masyadong mag-kalat ang ano --- we can focus on all of you,” Duterte said.
However, the President said that he would rather keep silent about his critics because his focus right now is at the armed rebellion being waged by terrorists and the New Peoples’ Army (NPA).
“Gusto ko lang malaman ninyo na ‘wag na muna ako diyan sa mga criticisms sa mga Trillanes thing, itong mga Yellow, itong mga Reds,” he said.
The Yellows refers to the Liberal Party and their allies who have used the color since the time of the late President Corazon Aquino.
Meanwhile, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV is an avowed critic of Duterte since he was still mayor of Davao City.
Duterte said that if the Marawi rebellion waged by the Islamic State-inspired Maute terror groujp is replicated simultaneously in major cities in Mindanao and the Visayas, the country would be in trouble.
“You could just imagine if what happened in Marawi would have happened to about three or four cities in Philippines. This is an open secret anyway among the military and the police that if these were to happen simultaneous in three big cities or four, it could be Basilan, Zamboanga, Cagayan, Davao and Cotabato and about one or two in the Visayas,” he said.
President Duterte declared martial law in the whole of Mindanao on May 23 when Maute terrorists laid siege of Marawi City.
But while state forces are engaged with the ISIS-inspired extremists, the NPA staged multiple offensives against the government prompting Duterte to cancel formal peace talks with the communists.
"And I don’t think they (NPA) have this modus vivendi with the enemy. But if the Reds would finally do it, then they are now in alignment with the Reds, the terrorists and the -- itong droga. I think this country would go into shambles. Alam ninyo ‘yan maski dalawa lang,” Duterte said.
“Modus vivendi” is an arrangement or agreement allowing conflicting parties to coexist peacefully, either indefinitely or until a final settlement is reached.
“So we’re trying our best just to keep silent. I have to build a strong army and the police. Not to perpetuate myself, I don’t need it. I find even the thought of just mentioning it an idiotic thing,” he added.
“But there are challenges ahead, threats that could come our way after I shall have stepped down. If this will continue for another time, this will continue to bug our children and grandchildren. I’m sorry but this is the reality, not the reality of the Duterte administration, but the reality of the problems confronting our country today,” Duterte said. (PNA)