DAVAO CITY — Presidential candidate Mayor Rodrigo Duterte yesterday urged his supporters to stop bullying the student who were allegedly rude to him during a forum at the University of the Philippines- Los Baños last week.
“I was not treated with disrespect. He was just acting according to his age. I was also once a student,” Duterte said, referring to UPLB student Stephen Villena.
Duterte’s supporters threatened Villena and even made a Facebook page where they “killed” the student for interrupting the candidate who was answering his question.
Villena said it was not his intention to interrupt Duterte, noting he only wanted to grant his request of leaving early to catch his flight back to Davao.
Duterte said he understood the sentiments of his supporters, but urged them to refrain from bullying anyone, particularly on social media.
He said Villena was not disrespectful, but was merely expressing his views.
“This is a free country. And I support his right to his own opinion and for him to say it,” the mayor said.
Duterte’s spokesman Peter Laviña urged the supporters to take the “moral high ground” when the candidate is en- gaged in public discussion.
Laviña reminded them of their real intention, which is for the country to break away from discontent, poverty, corruption, criminality and proliferation of drugs.
Meanwhile, Duterte expressed belief that Liberal Party standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II owns the private jets that the administration candidate is using in campaign sorties.
“Roxas could be lying when he said that he was just renting the aircraft,” Duterte said.
Earlier, Roxas said he has been using the private planes of Eric Gutierrez, owner of SR Metals Inc., in his campaign sorties.
Gutierrez is often seen in Roxas’ sorties.
Without specifically pointing to Roxas, Duterte said a certain candidate bought the planes without paying “a single centavo” in taxes.
Waive bank secrecy
Duterte and running mate Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano yesterday signed a mani- festo signifying they are waiving their rights to bank secrecy.
Duterte and Cayetano challenged their rivals to do the same in the interest of transparency and accountability.
They called on their rivals to make public their bank accounts, domestic and foreign, for scrutiny.
The two issued the challenge after they called for the lifting of the bank secrecy law for public officials and the passage of an anti-dummy law to prevent them from amassing ill-gotten wealth.
– With Robertzon Ramirez