Duterte ready to defend presidency, admits problem with Robredo

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Amid alleged plots to oust him from power, President Rodrigo Duterte says he is ready to defend his post.

"I'll give you a good fight, I'll give you a bloody nose," Duterte said to those supposedly planning to overthrow him, in an interview with CNN Philippines Thursday.

Former U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg allegedly left a "blueprint" to unseat Duterte, but the U.S. Embassy in Manila has denied the existence of such a scheme. 

Duterte accused some U.S. envoys of "undermining governance" in the countries where they are assigned.

 

Duterte also said his sour relationship with Vice President Leni Robredo stemmed from the Liberal Party's plan to oust him.

The President accused Robredo of joining rallies, and said it was "incongruous" for her to do so, only to show up for a Cabinet meeting the next day.

"Nandiyan kasi siya (sa rally) tapos bukas magharap kami (She's there, then we'll meet) don't you think it's a very incongruous thing?" Duterte said.

"You are part of the crowd that says you want me out," he added.

Robredo and the Liberal Party have denied plans to unseat the President, but Duterte is convinced the "yellow group" could not accept defeat.

Related: LP congressmen deny impeachment plot against Duterte

He said he is "not considering" giving Robredo another Cabinet post after she resigned as chairperson of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC). Robredo said Duterte's order for her to "desist from attending all Cabinet meetings" was "the last straw" in a series of efforts to supposedly derail her from doing her job.

 

Duterte also shrugged off critics' demands for his resignation.

"I feel that I have to honor the contract with the people," Duterte said.

Senator Leila De Lima, one of Duterte's staunchest critics, in November filed a case against the President before the Supreme Court to test his immunity from suit.

Self-confessed hitman Edgar Matobato, the witness De Lima presented during Senate probe on alleged extrajudicial killings, also filed charges against the President before the Ombudsman. This was for supposedly ordering the Davao Death Squad to kill thousands of people when he was Davao City mayor. 

Duterte, who repreatedly claimed to be the first Left-leaning president, said the Leftist and progressive groups will never demand his resignation.

"Yung Left na yan maski saan ka magpunta Duterte talaga yan (The Leftists are for Duterte)," he said.