President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday refused to speak behind a bullet-proof glass panel in his public engagement for the first time since it was introduced by his security men in April.
At the start of his speech in General Santos City, Duterte ordered the Presidential Security Group (PSG) to remove the bullet-proof glass which he said was installed to protect him from sniper fire.
"Bakit ninyo ako babarilin wala naman akong kasalanan sa inyo? Pumili kayo dito sa kanila, mga dating military, general. Huwag na iyong mga politiko kasi naglilingkod lang kami sa inyo," Duterte said in his native Cebuano.
"Tanggalin niyo nga ito. Ayoko magsalita. Gusto ko 'pag namatay ako kayo ang sisisihin," he quipped.
PSG men followed Duterte's directive, drawing applause from the crowd that gathered for the distribution of land titles to agrarian reform beneficiaries in Soccsksargen region.
The bullet-proof glass panel was first used during the PDP-Laban campaign rally in Malabon City on April 2 where Duterte revealed that some people wanted him dead.
The PSG later said they decided to place a bullet-proof glass on the presidential podium because the activity was situated in an open area. The panel was also used in other events of the President during the election campaign period.
“There has always been threats against national leaders, and all the more so against this President who has made enemies in all fronts when he declared a war against drugs, criminality, corruption and all forms of illegality,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo had said.
Duterte had repeatedly said in his speeches that he was willing to relinquish his post and put his life and honor at stake in his fight against the illegal drug trade, criminality, and corruption. — MDM, GMA News