Dela Rosa: Duterte’s words on Castro inconsequential to Congress
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Ronald dela Rosa, an ardent ally of former President Rodrigo Duterte, said Wednesday that the ex-chief executive’s pronouncement against a lawmaker does not have “any serious impact on the functioning” of Congress.
He also said that Duterte’s remark on ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro can “never” stop lawmakers from talking.
“As a legislator myself, I don’t see any serious impact on the functioning of the Filipino Parliament/Legislature as a whole that such a statement may cause. France Castro or any legislator can [never] be deterred from speaking out on important matters,” dela Rosa told INQUIRER.net in a message.
Dela Rosa was reacting to the statement of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), which said that its Governing Council is “appalled” over Duterte’s alleged threat against Castro on national television.
The International Organization of National Parliaments also criticized Duterte for his comment, which “has a serious impact” on the Philippine Congress “as it may deter members from speaking out.”
But the senator pointed out that the former president’s televised statement did not discourage Castro and other progressive lawmakers from speaking as they could still participate in national budget deliberations.
“France Castro or any legislator for that matter can never be deterred from speaking out on important matters. Had the IPU observed the budget deliberation proceedings in the House, they would see for themselves that the Makabayan bloc, including Castro, are dominating the floor per my observation,” said dela Rosa, who served as chief of the Philippine National Police during Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.
Duterte’s remark stemmed from discussions about his supposed conversations with his daughter, Vice President Sara Duterte, regarding her confidential funds for 2024 during the Gikan sa Masa, Para sa asa Program last October 11. The program was aired at Sonshine Media Network International and streamed on social media.
Castro was among the lawmakers who criticized the granting of P650 million in confidential funds for the Office of the Vice President (OVP) and the Department of Education, which Sara Duterte is also helming in concurrent capacity.
The House of Representatives eventually stripped the OVP, DepEd, and three other agencies of confidential funds. The funds were instead allocated to government security agencies at the forefront of protecting the West Philippine Sea.
Castro has since filed a grave threat complaint against former president Duterte.