PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday, January 9, was hopeful that no one gets offended by his "strong words" or "joke."
Duterte admitted that it was his style to go beyond the "limits of civility," especially when opposition groups continue to criticize his policies.
"I hope I have not offended anybody by my strong words or my joke," the President said in a speech delivered in Masbate City.
"Parang sinadya ko ‘yan para pang-bastos. I am really pursuing the limits of civility kasi kampanya pa lang, binabastos na nila ako eh (I deliberately do it -- being rude. I am really pursuing the limits of civility because they're rude to me since the campaign period)," he added.
The President then took for example his verbal attacks against the Catholic priests.
He maintained that he would not keep quiet when his critics, including the religious leaders, questioned his acts.
"Wala bang pari dito? Saan si Father? Father, father. Ah way mag... Masuntok kita. Father alam mo ganito, ‘yung style kasi ninyo, if you want to attack me or criticize me, huwag sa pulpit. You talk there, you have your interview," Duterte said.
(Is there a priest here? Where's the priest, Father, do not... I will punch you. You know, Father, your style is you use the pulpit if you want to attack me or criticize me. Don't use the pulpit. You talk there, you have your interview.)
"Pero kung gagamitin mo ang simbahan as a platform for... Ang sagot ko niyan hindi sa iyo. Sarili ‘yon. So huwag mong gamitin ‘yang, 'Duterte will go to hell.' Hindi man ako naniniwala ng hell. So sabi ko, ikaw ‘yung ma-hell," he added.
(But if you will use the platform, my answer is don't. So don't even say, "Duterte will go to hell." I don't even believe in hell. So I said, you'll be the one who will go to hell.)
Prior to his latest remark, Duterte also slammed the Commission on Audit (COA) for making decisions blocking government to provide immediate services to the people.
Airing his frustrations against COA on January 8, Duterte said state auditors should be "kidnapped" and "tortured" as a penance for their acts.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte's remarks against COA were "expressions of his exasperation and vexation against its application of stringent rules that delays government projects, made in playful jest as his usual hyperbolic style."
The Palace official said critics were offended by Duterte's harsh words because they "do not see anything good in what he does."
He also stressed that the President had used "spicy remarks" to convey a message that auditing protocols can be observed "without derailing government projects."
"The President is a forthright person and the more his critics and detractors lambast him on his style and action, the more he will stick to them," Panelo said in a statement on Thursday, January 10.
"We have an action man President who is visibly irked with inefficiency and delays in the delivery of public service which can be avoided by COA’s application of strict rules liberally but not in derogation of what the law requires and still within its ambit," he added. (SunStar Philippines)