BY ROGER M. BALANZA
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte scared off those clamoring for him to run for president in 2016, with a warning he will do a Ferdinand Marcos if he is in Malacanang.
The late dictator Marcos ruled the country for more than two decades half of it under martial law, until People Power forced him to flee the country in 1986.
I will declare martial law and shut down the Senate and Congress, he said in his television program Gikan sa Masa Para sa Masa on ABS/CBN Davao.
Smugglers and their cohorts in the Bureau of Customs will also become dodos if he is tossed to the presidency.
Duterte has no love lost for Customs, whose officials he said connive with smugglers to defraud government of billions of pesos in unpaid revenues.
I will also close down the Bureau of Customs, said Duterte in the February 9, 2013 edition of the Sunday television program hosted by lawyer-journalist Geraldine Tiu.
You will regret it, he said in a message to those pushing him to run for the presidency.
The clamor, led by social media, for Duterte to join the 2016 presidential derby spread like wildfire after he declared an all-out war against rice smuggling in the Davao port, warning that he would kill them’ if they continue their illegal importations.
Duterte said earlier his campaign against smuggling was on request of Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) chief Kim Henares, to go after tax cheats and help raise much-needed revenues for the national coffers
The clamor for Duterte to run for president reached crescendo after he appeared in a Senate committee investigation into rampant rice smuggling in the country, where he named Davidson Bangayan aka David Tan as the ‘center of rice smuggling’ in connivance with corrupt officials of the Customs and other government agencies. Davao City is a major port of entry of contraband rice.
Duterte repeated his warning to kill rice smugglers before Senators in the hearing of the Senate committee on food and agriculture chaired by Senator Cynthia Villar. Villar said the Senate probe into rice smuggling was triggered by Duterte’s war versus smugglers.
The hearing was attended by David Tan, whose name, according to Duterte, always cropped up every time smuggled rice landed in the Davao port. Davidson Tan denied before Senators he was David Tan, but would be slapped with perjury by the Senate committee after Duterte affirmed Davidson Tan and David Tan were one and the same person.
I will gladly kill him, said Duterte referring to the alleged rice smuggler, when asked by Senator Ralph Recto if his warning to kill rice smugglers still stands.
Duterte earlier said Malacanang was not his cup of tea and has rejected public overtures he run for president.
In the ABS/CBN television program, Duterte urged those pushing him to run to stop, saying he may end up in jail if he sits in Malacanang, like two other presidents referring to former presidents Joseph Estrada and Gloria Arroyo.
I don’t want to be called an ex-convict, said Duterte who has amassed a string of two decades as mayor of Davao City.
While Duterte heaped public praise for his anti-corruption campaign, he has found trouble with the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) whose chair Etta Rosales said the Davao City Mayor could be facing charges for possible human rights violations for his twin warnings to kill rice smugglers.