‘So many mishaps’: Duterte sorry for SEA Games lapses, answers other national issues

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 29)— From Southeast Asian (SEA) Games hosting concerns to his flagship anti-drug campaign—President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday addressed the most pressing national concerns in an exclusive interview with CNN Philippines.

Here are the highlights of our one-on-one talk with the President:

‘So many mishaps’

The chief executive admitted there have been “mishaps” in the country’s hosting duties of the biennial meet.

But while Duterte believes that some of the missteps were unintentional, he assured the foreign delegations that the government will get to the bottom of the issues.

“They should know while they are still here that government is not happy with it and the President of the country where they are playing has ordered for an investigation,” Duterte said.

READ: Duterte apologizes to foreign delegations for SEA Games mishaps

Duterte also stood by his earlier statement that his 2016 running mate, House Speaker and Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) chair Alan Peter Cayetano, is innocent of corruption.

However, he stressed that accountability will still be the name of the game.

“I think the investigation should proceed with the presumption of innocence. Then along the way if they find something wrong— either to negligence or intentional, then let it out, and sort out what will be next— whether to file charges or not,” he added.

‘Good as fired on first day’

The President also revealed he sacked Vice President Leni Robredo— whom he appointed as co-chair of the government’s anti-drug agency— for “talking to so many nations.”

He added Robredo, who publicly expressed her plans to meet with foreign agencies such as the United States Embassy and United Nations— was as good as fired during her first days as anti-drug czar.

“I fired her in my mind. Noon pa, first day pa lang nung sabi niyang punta siya sa (when she said she would go to the) US Embassy,” he said.

Duterte dismissed Robredo as co-chairperson of the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs on Sunday, less than three weeks after her appointment.

Following her firing, Robredo said she aims to publicize a report on her findings on the administration’s controversial anti-illegal drug program.

‘Quarrel’ with China on power issues

Duterte, whose administration has constantly pushed for friendly ties with Beijing, made yet another bold statement as he warned of a “quarrel” with China if it shuts off the Philippine’ power system.

"I will tell China, ‘You know China, if you do that then there will be a quarrel. I mean not overcome you but I said you will receive from me a mouthful. Then I'll go to other places and look for help," Duterte said.

Duterte’s pronouncement comes amid heightened security concerns on the Chinese government’s co-ownership of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines which operates the country's power transmission system.

Lawmakers—particularly the Senate— are expected to investigate the matter.

RELATED: China on PH power grid: Don't imagine trouble where there is none

‘Performing my duties’

Despite concerns on his health, Duterte assured that he would be able to perform his functions as chief executive.

“74 years old, 'wag mo tanungin kung (don’t ask me if) I am at the best or the peak of health, I am not,” Duterte said. “For purposes of performing my functions as President, I'm alright.”

The President, who has reiterated his administration’s fight against corruption—also made another verbal order Friday night.

He gave the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) an ultimatum to settle their tax liabilities in three days.

"They are now ordered to register with the BIR and kumuha ng (get) tag number... You better settle that utang (liability) or else gawin ko kayong pugo (I will turn you to quails)," Duterte said.

Catch the replays of CNN Philippines Senior Correspondent Ina Andolong's exclusive interview with President Duterte on November 30 (Saturday) at 8 a.m. and December 1 (Sunday) at 5 p.m.

CNN Philippines’ Alyssa Rola, Eimor Santos, Luchi de Guzman, and Janine Peralta contributed to this report.