Duterte says he ordered an assassination attempt on a Philippine official, a Spokesman Says He Misspoke
Story Code : 817071
In his speech on Tuesday evening at the Presidential Palace in Manila, Duterte addressed officials who, according to him, were involved in drug trafficking to the former mayor of Dantantayan district in Cebu province, a retired police officer Vincent Lute, who survived an armed attack in the center of the country, in May last year.
“General Loot, you son of a bitch,” he said. “I ambushed you, you animal, and you still survived.” Duterte said in a strong statement.
In his speech, Duterte mentioned two other mayors killed by police officers in 2016 and 2017, who were with Loot among about 100 local officials accused by Duterte after he took office in 2016 for their involvement in drug trafficking.
The statement echoed the fact that it is an exceptional recognition even for this leader known for his controversial populist statements, but Duterte's office quickly intervened in the matter and declared that this is a slip of the tongue, especially since the president of the country is not native speakers of the Philippine language.
A presidential spokesman, Salvador Panelo, said Wednesday that Mr. Duterte had meant to say “You were ambushed,” not “I ambushed you.” Mr. Duterte, he noted, is not a native speaker of the Filipino language but of Visayan, which is spoken mainly in the southern and central Philippines.
“It is silly and absurd to conclude that he is behind the ambush just because he misspeaks the Filipino language, which is not his native tongue or first language,” Mr. Panelo said.
Last December, Duterte denied involvement in Lott's assassination attempt, which wounded three of his aides and a port employee.