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For President Duterte, silence could be golden

  • Written by Jester P. Manalastas With Bernadette E. Tamayo, Cristina Lee-Pisco
  • Published in Top Stories
  • Read: 469

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte is not perfect but to avoid controversial statements he ought to shut up and instead focus on his work.

This was the tongue-in-cheek advice of Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo Fariñas to Duterte, who again recently made a gaff and apologized for it.

“Siguro ang payo ko, Mr. President huwag na ho kayo magsalita. Magtrabaho na lang kayo,” Fariñas said when asked to comment on Duterte’s seeming penchant for making statements that he would later apologize for.

But House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who in jest said the President will keep on apologizing for the next six years, pointed out that Duterte is just human and therefore makes mistakes.
   
Over the weekend, Duterte apologized  “profoundly and deeply” to the Jewish community over his statement likening himself to Adolf Hitler who had ordered the killing at least three million Jews.
   
He made the reference to Hitler and the German dictator’s crime of genocide while defending his bold campaign against illegal drugs and saying he would not regret killing the estimated three million drug users and pushers in the country.
   
Also recently, Duterte apologized to former Pangasinan governor now Congressman Amado Espino for mistakingly including the lawmaker in his drug list.
   
Alvarez lauded the President, who is facing many problems, for having the courage to apologize.
   
“Alam mo, lahat naman tayo nagkakamali. Ngayon kung kinakailangang mag-apologize, mag-apologize tayo. So wala naman akong problema dun. Hindi naman perfect siguro bawat tao na lahat ng gagawin mo ay tama. Ngayon pag narealize mo na hindi tama, I think, at least, you have that courage to apologize,” Alvarez said.
   
Alvarez urged people to understand and rally behind the president in addressing so many issues like illegal drugs, rebellion both from the CPP-NPA and the MNLF and MILF.
   
Like Alvarez, Fariñas said he understands Duterte who gets into trouble in his desire to accommodate the media.
   
“He wants to accommodate media and andiyan ang obligation niya to speak to the people. He loves the media, he’s accommodating kasi sanay din siya sa media. Pero nahihirapan siya sa transition na he speaks for the whole country. Doon tayo nagkakaproblema,” Fariñas said.
   
He pointed out that while the President wanted to express his opinion on certain issue, most of the time he was taken out of context.
   
“He’s trying to change, sincere naman siya sa mga pagkakamali,” Fariñas added. 

Be careful, please                                                           

Senators Richard Gordon and Panfilo Lacson hope President Rodrigo Duterte will be “more careful” with his public utterances concerning his all-out war against illegal drugs.
   
Gordon on Monday took a swipe at the President for his foul language in asserting his anti-drug campaign sometimes to the detriment of the country’s image in the international community.
   
“We have to protect the country from bad statements and the President has the duty to be a statesman. He must not be heard saying all bad words,” said Gordon.
   
He made the remark during yesterday’s fourth public hearing into the alleged extrajudicial killings of suspected drug traffickers which has already reached over 1,000 as of last month.
   
Lacson said that he finds it uncomfortable hearing the President apologizing for his supposed hurtful remarks about the killing of Jews by Hitler which he likened to his desire to kill three million Filipino drug couriers and addicts.
   
“Well, dapat lang. Dapat bawasan ang pag-so-sorry. Mag-ingat siya sa sasabihin kasi nakakasawa ang makinig ng sorry. Parang nawawala ang value ng sorry,” he said.
   
“What is the point of saying sorry when in the next vein magsasalita ka naman ng ika-ka sorry mo? Dapat lesson ‘yan. How many times has he said sorry already? Marami-rami na rin eh,” said Lacson in a chance interview.
   
Gordon, chairman of the Senate justice committee, deplored that Duterte is “too noisy” about his supposed plan to neutralize suspected drug traders which sometimes puts him into trouble.
   
“Maingay ang pangulo, sobrang ingay ng pangulo. Tama lang na ipakita niya na galit siya sa droga pero huwag na siyang mag-ingay na ‘I will kill you,’” he said.
   
“Hindi tama ‘yan. Kaya he is falling on his own sword, nadadapa siya sa kanyang espada dahil salita siya ng salita, napagbibintangan tuloy ang bansa na ‘yan ang nangyayari,” added Gordon.
   
Asked to comment on the President’s apology, Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said:”Basta lahat tayo, lahat ng tao ay natututo sa mga past experiences, hindi ko sinasabi pagkakamali ha, basta past experiences.
   
“Ganoon din po ang Pangulo, ganoon din ako. We learn from all our past experiences. But of course, ako I want the President to be effective. Let him be himself,” he said.

‘Unscrupulous’ media

Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. blamed the “unscrupulous press people” for the controversial issues that had put President Rodrigo Duterte in bad light.
   
Yasay said some media people have deliberately choose specific words from the question and answer and avoid the President’s true message, resulting in misunderstandings.
   
“Ang punto ko at punto na tama na karapat-dapat sabihin sa taong bayan ay huwag natin kalimutan na si Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, he utters words on the basis of his own style. Yung mga kritiko nya when they focus on the words he said and the message he would like to bring across yun ang malaking problema, so ang problema nila is interpretation not on what the President said but their deliberate and para bang yung kanilang kagustuhan na hindi nila pinakikinggan ang tunay na mensahe ng ating Pangulo kung hindi don sila nagko-concentrate sa mga specific words precisely to avoid that message which is very helpful to the country,” the Secretary explained during an interview over DZRH.