Hilbay, Diokno tell Duterte: Opposition’s role is to check admin
MANILA, Philippines — Senatorial candidates and lawyers Florin Hilbay and Chel Diokno reminded President Rodrigo Duterte — who slammed Otso Diretso bets for constantly criticizing him — that the opposition’s role is to check on government policies.
According to Hilbay, who was the former solicitor general under the previous administration, giving criticisms is just a part of their jobs.
“Mr. President, ang trabaho po ng oposisyon ay tumutol sa mga maling ginagawa ng administrasyon n’yo. Demokrasya pa rin naman tayo, at hindi diktadurya, ‘di ho ba? “Wala pong personalan, trabaho lang” he told Duterte in a statement on Monday morning.
“Tungkulin ng oposisyon na kuwestiyunin, punahin, at magbigay ng alternatibo sa pagpapatakbo sa pamahalaan. Huwag naman sanang balat-sibuyas ang ating pangulo – ito ang diwa ng demokrasya,” Diokno, a human rights lawyer, said in a separate statement.
Diokno also threw shade against candidates endorsed by Duterte, who are supposedly keen on making themselves known through campaign materials such as tarpaulins.
“Ibalik ko rin sa Pangulo ang tanong, ano naman ang nagawa ng kanyang mga pambato? Puro pagta-tarpaulin. Hindi kami gagawa ng tarpaulin sa Senado, mga batas po ang gagawin namin doon, na kailangang pagdebatehan,” he added.
During his speech last Sunday night at the PDP-Laban campaign rally in Zamboanga City, Duterte said that the Otso Diretso was headed for hell, after having done nothing but criticize.
He also had words for Otso Diretso candidates including Hilbay, Diokno, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, reelectionist Bam Aquino, election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and former Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada.
He spared Marawi civic leader Samira Gutoc though, mainly because she was a ‘woman’.
Aside from the tirades, Duterte also implied that the qualifications of Hilbay, Tañada, and Macalintal, could not match those of former MMDA chair Francis Tolentino — who was a guest candidate of the Liberal Party (LP) in 2016.
Hilbay introduced himself to the President, in case the latter has already forgotten how they met, and the ruling against China which he helped in winning.
“By the way, ako po iyong isa sa mga abugadong nagpanalo ng kaso laban sa China para sa karapatan natin sa West Philippine Sea. Nakilala n’yo na po ako in person. Nagkita tayo noong araw na lumabas iyong ruling ng kaso at humingi kayo ng briefing,” Hilbay noted.
“Nagpapakilala po ulit ako kasi parang nakalimot na naman kayo. Kasi mismong iyong ruling na naipanalo natin ang West Philippine Sea laban sa China, nakalimutan n’yo na rin,” he said in jest.
In July 2016, weeks after Duterte took his oath as the country’s 15th head of state, the United Nations (UN) Arbitral Tribunal decided that China’s territorial claims based on their nine-dash line were invalid and that the Philippines has exclusive sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea.
Hilbay, as the previous administration’s chief lawyer, led the case along with other top government officials.
China has refused to recognize the case after choosing to not participate in the arbitral proceedings.
Despite the ruling, Beijing continues to occupy Scarborough Shoal after taking control of it in 2012. It also failed to stop China from completing artificial islands that it started building in the West Philipppine Sea during the previous administration. /cbb
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