Malacañang on Wednesday denied that President Rodrigo Duterte is resurrecting the tools of dictatorship.
In a statement, Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said that Duterte’s display of “strong political will” is not equivalent to dictatorship.
“The President has displayed strong political will but this does not necessarily follow he would become a dictator,” Abella said.
“The scenarios listed by the February 25 Coalition, such as the President’s references against some members of the clergy, the lowering of age of criminal liability, among others are not signs of a looming dictatorship but firm responses to the prevailing issues of the day,” he added.
The February 25 Coalition, in its unity statement, said there was a “clear and present danger” because of the decisions made by the President, including allowing former President Ferdinand Marcos’ burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
“Clearly, the tools of dictatorship are being resurrected – from the open threat to suspend the privilege of writ of habeas corpus to the constant danger of having martial law declared, to the subversion of civilian and democratic rule to the gross violation of human rights,” the February 25 Coalition said.
“Already, over 7,000 men, women, and children have lost their lives in killings patiently without regard for their fundamental rights as citizens. These events are akin to the brutalities under the Marcos dictatorship. We now face the resurgence of nothing less than authoritarian rule,” it added.