THE critics of President Rodrigo Duterte must accept the reality that the former Davao City mayor won the 2016 presidential elections and abandon their “ambition” to oust him.
Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel 3rd stressed this on Saturday amid reports that the Liberal Party, communist-led groups, the clergy, some policemen, and some people in the media were conspiring to unseat Mr. Duterte.
“There are still a lot of people who cannot accept the result of the elections in 2016. I hope they accept it,” Pimentel said in a radio interview.
“Meron na pong nanalo. Ang term ni President Duterte 2016 to 2022. Demokrasya tayo. P’wede kayo magsabi na mali ang programa. P’wede kayo magsabi na mali ang desisyon (Somebody won already. The term of President Duterte is from 2016 to 2022. We are a democracy. You can say that the program is wrong. You can say the decision is not right),” he said.
Pimentel added: “Pero, huwag kayo mag-ambisyon na patalsikin ang Presidente (But don’t ambition to oust the President).”
The Constitution provides that the President must finish his or her term, the Senate chief said. “You can criticize the president, file an impeachment complaint,” he said.
Liberal Party (LP) senators on Thursday maintained that the erstwhile ruling party was not involved in any destabilization or ouster plot against the President.
They also denounced alleged efforts to silence dissenters and critics of the government.
Sen. Francis Pangilinan, LP president, said Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana himself had dismissed
reports there was a plot to unseat the President.
“Walang destabilization. Pekeng ouster plot (There’s no destabilization. It’s a fake ouster plot),” he said in a chance interview.
“Naghahanap sila ng pantapal para malihis ang atensyon ng media at ng mamamayan sa alingasngas ng corruption, drug smuggling ng Davao group at ang palpak na drug war na araw-araw ang patayan (They were looking for issues to deviate media and citizens’ attention from corruption, drug smuggling of the Davao group, the ineffective war on drugs, and killings everyday),” he added.
Instead of exerting effort to persecute or silence dissenters, Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino 4th said the government should allow people to take a stand on issues and air their criticisms without fear of retribution.
“This is no longer healthy for our democracy,” he said.
“Hindi kami involved sa anumang ouster plot. Ang mga paratang na `yan ay gawa-gawa lamang (We are not involved in any ouster plot. Those allegations are fabricated),” Aquino told reporters.
Aquino also criticized Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd for branding “yellowtards” as enemies of the State during the launching of a pro-Duterte group. Yellow is the LP color.
“This is political persecution,” he said. “This is anti-democratic and should be opposed and that’s what we are doing,” Pangilinan said.
The minority bloc will continue to work on important matters, like the 2018 national budget and tax reform, Aquino said.