by Teresa Barre

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Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Alan Peter Cayetano on stage at the CNN Philippines Town Hall held at the UP Diliman Cine Adarna. Photo by Hannah Paguila.


Even after presidential candidate and current Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte admitted to having killed people with his own hands, his running mate Alan Peter Cayetano said he has “the same core values” with Duterte.

“We speak differently. But we have the same core values. We are men of principle,” said Senator Alan Peter Cayetano in an election forum at UP Diliman’s Cine Adarna, Feb. 18.

Recently, Duterte said that once elected, he will end crime and corruption in three to six months, and promised to step down if he fails to do so.

“I gave myself a very constrictive time frame so that you will know that I have to act on it,” Duterte said.

Cayetano assured his running mate will only follow legal methods in fulfilling his promise of solving drug problems since the Davao City mayor has the “widest and best intelligence network in the Philippines.”

“They have the resources to pinpoint who the criminals are. The difference is that unlike the administration, Duterte will stand behind his policemen when the need to shoot suspected criminals arise,” Cayetano said during CNN Philippines’ fourth installment of Town Hall, a series of election fora.

Duterte earned the moniker ‘The Punisher’ after admitting links to a death squad involved in extrajudicial killings of suspected criminals in Davao City, the largest city in Mindanao.

According to international news organization Al Jazeera, there have been more than 1,000 counts of extrajudicial killings recorded since the 1990s when he first served as the city’s mayor.

The vice presidentiable also commented on his partner’s admission that he has personally ordered the killing of alleged criminals during his more than 20 years of being the city’s mayor, saying there is a difference between ‘killing’ and ‘murder’.

“When the Bible says ‘thou shall not kill,’ it really means ‘thou shall not commit murder.’ So when you tell a soldier or a policeman to do his job to protect life and liberty, that is not murder… when you tell a criminal to put his hands up and to kneel down but he doesn’t and instead reaches for a gun– (you) shoot. Because that is the rules of engagement,” said the senator, addressing a packed audience of university students, professors and supporters of the tandem.

Another issue the pair initially had different views on is the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), a bill seeking to create an autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao, which Cayetano originally co-authored with Sen. JV Ejercito.

Cayetano withdrew his support for the BBL after the Mamasapano incident where 44 of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Special Action Force (SAF) died in a clash with the Moro International Liberation Front (MILF) in January 2015.

Meanwhile, Duterte said, “Nothing short of a federalism will bring in Mindanao peace” when asked of his stand on the issue.

“Actually, we have the same stand. We both want peace and equality in Mindanao. And federalism can do that. It’s just that there are nuances in the current BBL,” said Cayetano.

Aside from being ‘The Punisher,’ Duterte has also been criticized for being a womanizer after admitting he has three girlfriends. The presidentiable, however, denied objectifying women.

“Not ever. I have a mother. I have a daughter. I have a wife. Why would I do it?… It’s not an object simply because I am separated from my wife,” he said.

“Sometimes you go for the socially correct, but at the end of the day, it all boils down to biology,” Duterte added.

The mayor  also admitted that his marriage with his ex-wife Elizabeth Zimmerman was annulled on grounds of his womanizing.

The whole interview will be telecast on Feb. 20 at the CNN Philippines channel at 8:30 pm.


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