Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte says he regretted running for the nation’s highest office at the height of numerous corruption scandals – most notably the decision by Nayong Pilipino Foundation to award Hong Kong-listed Landing International Development Ltd a land lease to develop a US$1.5 billion casino resort.
During a speech at a swearing-in ceremony for newly elected officials in Cagayan de Oro this week, Duterte said he “lost interest at work” after firing the entire Nayong Pilipino Foundation board on the same day that Landing held a groundbreaking ceremony for the IR in Manila’s Entertainment City.
“Actually, I regretted it. I regretted running for President,” he recalled.
“They allowed a casino to be erected there without a public bidding. I got so angry … what’s the essence of a casino inside Nayong Filipino? Why would you put it there? How stupid.”
The government described Landing’s 50-year land lease deal at the time as “grossly disadvantageous” and later cancelled the deal altogether. It also cancelled a provisional gaming license granted by PAGCOR just weeks before the groundbreaking ceremony last August – the second time a provisional gaming license was deemed invalid following a similar saga involving Galaxy Entertainment Group’s plans to develop a US$500 million casino resort in Boracay.
Duterte also revealed this week that he had told his daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio, also known as Inday Sara, not to run for President in 2022 due to widespread corruption within the government. Duterte-Carpio is currently Mayor of Davao and seemingly following in her father’s political footsteps.
“That is why when people speculated Inday to run for President,” he said. “I told her, ‘Don’t do it. You will not be able to control it. They will disrespect you, those sons of bitches’.”