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Did Duterte admit killing? Andanar blames media for taking President’s words literally

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“He is not a killer,”

This was the main message of Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar told BBC Newsday on Friday, December 15, in Singapore as he went on overdrive to clean up the fallout from President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s admission he killed three people when he was mayor of Davao City.

“We don’t take all the President’s statements literally, but we take his statements seriously,” Andanar said during the interview with BBC anchor Rico Hizon.

At the Wallace Business Forum in Manila on Monday, Duterte said: “In Davao, I used to do it personally. Just to show the guys that, if I can do it, why can’t you?”
“(I’d) go around Davao with a motorcycle, with a big bike around and I would just patrol the streets and looking for trouble also. I was really looking for an encounter so I could kill,” Duterte added.

But Andanar said media should be more discerning of the President’s hyperbole.

“That is the style of the President, when he was mayor of Davao City. He wanted to instill fear in the hearts of criminals,” Andanar said to explain the unfiltered speech of Duterte, who, ironically, and to the frustration of critics in the international community, continues to enjoy a massive support base in the Philippines.

He said Duterte was known for going around Davao City on a motorcycle to patrol the streets and look for trouble to stop. He said it was unfortunate that foreign news picked up the message that the motorbike-riding mayor went out of his way to look for trouble, hence creating an image that the tough talking mayor initiated trouble or spent his time engaging residents making trouble or being trigger-happy most of the time.