Duterte on bombing mosques: 'It's out of my hands already'

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President Rodrigo Duterte during the 23rd anniversary of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in Taguig City.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 30) — President Rodrigo Duterte reveals he has made a painful decision regarding the ongoing siege in Marawi City, which has now entered its 100th day.

In a speech on Wednesday, Duterte said he has given the military a free hand to decide on whether or not to bomb mosques where Mautes were holed up — even if there were hostages still inside.

"(The) last time I was there, that would be around five days ago, six days ago, I finally said, 'The option is already yours because we cannot have a stalemate for over one year,"' he said while in Taguig City.

Related: Duterte visits Marawi for third time

The commander-in-chief was referring to his third visit to the war-torn city, when he finally gave up on reining in military options to end the crisis.

"Nagtaas na ako ng kamay because a lot of people in government were already complaining - the police, the military and the civilians. Pati 'yung mga civilian leaders nandiyan sa grounds sa Marawi."

[Translation: I'm hands up about it because a lot of people in government were already complaining - the police, the military and the civilians. Even the civilian leaders on the ground in Marawi.]

The President said even senators had told him that he should "stop stopping the Armed Forces."

Duterte said the crisis went this far because he was the one who had been preventing the troops from blasting away terrorist lairs.

Related: Duterte: No assault, as gov't ready to 'wait it out' on Marawi crisis

"I will admit to you now, bakit matagal 'yung sa siege sa Matagal na 'yan sa on deck na talagang gusto bobombahin ang mosque to capture or kill the leaders there and in the process, sacrifice 'yung mga hostage who are all Filipinos, maybe Maranaos and a mingling of Christians, Tagalog, nandiyan."

[Translation: The military had long wanted to bomb the mosque to capture or kill the leaders there, and in the process, sacrifice the hostages who are all Filipinos, maybe Maranaos and a mingling of Christians, Tagalog, there inside.]

Related: Duterte to soldiers fighting Mautes: No prisoners, kill them all

But even as President, he said, he had his limits.

"Matagal na kasi [It has taken too long]. It's out of my hands already."

However, Duterte said he was still exerting efforts to get hostages out of harm's way.

"Up to this time, I have sent somebody (who) could save the day for all of us," he said, hoping for the possibility of convincing the Mautes to free the hostages.