De Lima: Duterte is President of republic, not only of Misuari
MANILA, Philippines – “Let me remind (President Rodrigo) Duterte that he is not just President to (Moro National Liberation Front founding chair Nur) Misuari. He is President to our Republic.”
This is what opposition Senator Leila de Lima said on Friday as she slammed the President for giving “terrorist” and “criminal” Misuari a “platform.”
She is reacting to Duterte’s recent pronouncement, saying that Misuari has threatened to “go to war” if the government fails to pursue federalism.”
Misuari and Duterte met last Tuesday in Malacañang, which was already their second in less than a month since the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).
“The worst thing a free government can do is to give terrorists a platform. This is what Duterte is doing now to Nur Misuari,” De Lima said in a dispatch from Camp Crame where she is being detained on drug charges.
“Misuari is nothing more than a criminal under the protection and patronage of Duterte,” she added.
De Lima pointed out that it was Misuari who ordered the hostile takeover of Zamboanga City in 2013 yet he “roams around, scot-free” because the President “refused to serve the arrest warrants” against the MNLF leader.
“It is because of Duterte’s protection that Misuari has the gall to ignore and disrespect the Sandiganbayan by not showing up for his arraignment for graft and malversation,” De Lima said in her statement.
She added that the President allowed his office to be “disrespected” by Misuari, and even acting as the MNLF leader’s “spokesperson.”
“Duterte acted as Misuari’s spokesperson, delivering the latter’s threat against our Republic, under the seal of his Office and before the media, for all to hear,” she said.
The detained senator also slammed Duterte for being “not a true President” as a true President, she said, would have Misuari arrested and “it is time for him to face his crimes.”
“Misuari continues to refuse a lawful and peaceful life. Still he threatens our country. Still the President humors him,” De Lima said.
“Let me remind Duterte that he is not just president to Misuari. He is president to our Republic, and to our people, even to victims of Misuari’s crimes,” she added.
Sought for comment, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo hit back at De Lima, saying that the worst that the government could do is to give the senator a “platform for her lies and nonsense.”
“The worst thing that this government can do is to give her a platform for her lies and nonsense. So other than saying she remains ignored,” Panelo told INQUIRER.net in a text message. /muf
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