Duterte denies silencing critics
Updated (4:53 p.m.)
President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday denied allegations that he was using his power to silence government critics, noting that he has given them the opportunity to “talk and talk” on a daily basis.
“I have yet to sign anything ordering the arrest or silencing of anyone especially the critics,” Duterte said in his têtê-a-têtê” with Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo in Malacañang.
“The fact that they’re doing it everyday just shows that I’m giving them the time of their lives to talk and talk,” he added.
Opposition lawmakers have criticized the President’s Proclamation 572, which revoked the amnesty granted to Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, one of Duterte’s arch-critics.
The Chief Executive, however, insisted that there were flaws in the granting of amnesty to the mutineer-turned-senator.
“‘Yung kay Trillanes, may nakita kasi si SolGen Calida na mali. Pag mali, mali. Walang magagawa ‘yan (Solicitor General Calida saw something wrong. If it’s wrong, it’s wrong. You can’t do anything about it)…any lawyer will always agree with me that it (amnesty) is personal and exclusive to the President,” Duterte stressed.
The President earlier claimed that former defense secretary Voltaire “Volts” Gazmin is liable for “usurpation of authority” when the latter recommended the amnesty grant to Trillanes and several others in 2011. He said Gazmin made the recommendation and “approved it himself.”
Duterte was also heavily criticized over the prosecution of detained Senator Leila De Lima, who is also among his staunchest critics, due to drug-related charges.
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