Duterte a victim of poor Tagalog, says Malacañang

September 18, 2019
Salvador Panelo

MALACAÑANG yesterday clarified that President Rodrigo Duterte’s remark on the May 2018 ambush of former Daanbantayan, Cebu mayor Vicente Loot was not an admission of involvement in the attack.

In a speech Tuesday night, Duterte seemed to have indicated that he ordered the hit on Loot, a former police official whom he has linked to the illegal drug trade, when he said: “General Loot. P— ina mo. Nanalo pa ng mayor. In-ambush kita, animal ka. Buhay pa rin.”

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said what Duterte meant was that Loot is still alive despite being ambushed. He attributed Duterte’s ambigous statement to the President not being “proficient in the Filipino vernacular.”

“Hindi niya inamin. Kung papakinggan mo yung salita niya, ang sinabi niya, ‘In-ambush kita.’ But don’t forget that this President is a Bisaya. Ang talagang sasabihin niya, in-ambush ka na, buhay ka pa,” Panelo said.

“He (Duterte) is not proficient in the Filipino vernacular,” he added. “Bisayang-Bisaya ‘yan eh.”

Panelo also said a check on previous transcripts of Duterte’s speeches would show that he has repeatedly denied involvement in the ambush of Loot.

“If you will look at the previous transcripts of the President, ‘yun ang sinasabi niya ever since. Laging gan’un. Wala siyang inaamin. That’s silly and ridiculous,” he said.

Loot has repeatedly denied Duterte’s allegations that he is involved in illegal drugs.