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Dumaguete City - President Benigno S. Aquino III must take the full responsibility for the disastrous  operation to capture international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Jan. 25 which resulted in the slaughter of 44 members of the elite Police Special Action Force (SAF), Davao City Mayor Rody Duterte today said here.
 In an interview with Dumaguete media men at the office of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo, Duterte said that while he does not want to offend the President, somebody has to tell Aquino to step forward and take the blame for the ill-fated operation.
"I do not want to offend the President but somebody has to tell him that he has to stop this blame game by taking full responsibility for what happened in Mamasapano," the Davao City Mayor said.
Duterte is in Dumaguete City today for a two-university swing in the city to continue his Federalism advocacy which he said is the best option should the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law fail to pass Congress.
"As Mayor of Davao City, for example, I take full responsibility for whatever happens in an operation which I order to be implemented," he said citing a case where policemen who were following his orders were charged for alleged excesses in the killing of suspected kidnap for ransom gang members in the city last year.
The Mayor said that unless somebody owns up the responsibility for the disastrous mission, the investigation of the Senate and the blame game between the military and the police will continue projecting divisiveness in government.
Duterte and his group are making a swing of Dumaguete City, Dapitan City and Dipolog City to continue their advocacy for Federalism.
In his address before some 700 students of the Silliman University who jampacked the Luce Auditorium for a forum on Federalism, Duterte said that the only option left now to address the problems in Mindanao is Federalism.
Under the proposal, Duterte said a Federal State could be established for the Muslim Provinces of Central Mindanao and another Federal State for the  island provinces of Basilan, Tawi-tawi and Sulu.
He added that a Federal Philippines would also enhance the development of the outlying regions of the country which have long been neglected by the Central Government.
Duterte also cited the case of Palawan which is demanding from the  national government its share from the Malapaya Gas Funds amounting to P73-B which the national government has failed to pay.
Next week, Duterte will make a swing in the cities of Dapugan in Pangasinan, Baguio and Angeles in Pampanga as he continues the "Listening Tour" aimed at pushing for a shift to a Federal System of government while at the same time feeling the pulse of the people who have been clamoring for Duterte to consider running for President in 2016.

Duterte has consistently said he is not interested to run for President but that he is willing to listen to the voices of the people.
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