President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday expressed his intention to take responsibility for the actions of soldiers in Mindanao the implementation of martial law.
Duterte assured the soldiers of the 2nd Mechanized Infantry (Magbalantay) Brigade of the Philippine Army in Iligan City that they had his full support.
“If you go down, I go down. But for this martial law and the consequences of martial law and the ramifications of martial law, I and I alone would be responsible. Trabaho lang kayo. Ako na bahala. Ako na ang magpakulong sa inyo,” Duterte said.
Duterte then remarked in jest that he could even go to jail for the soldiers if they committed rape.
“‘Pag naka-rape ka ng tatlo, aminin ko na akin iyon," Duterte said.
"‘Pag nag-asawa ka ng apat, t—ina, bugbugin ka ng—ito si Delfin,” he added in apparent reference to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
Iligan City is one hour away from Marawi City where elements of terrorist groups Maute and Abu Sayyaf have been holed up since May 23.
The terrorist attacks prompted Duterte to declare martial law in Mindanao.
"During martial law, your commanders, you—you can arrest any person, search any house, wala ng warrant. Kagaya noon," the President urged his soldiers.