In 2017, we need friends, not enemies, Duterte told
President Duterte should tone down his diatribe against critics of his bloody drug war as his New Year’s resolution, an opposition lawmaker said.
“In this time of great global upheaval, we need to know that we’ve got friends. We do not need to create enemies,” said Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat, a leader of the so-called “Magnificent 7” group of minority lawmakers in the House of Representatives.
The congressman said continuing the President’s belligerent attitude toward the United Nations, the European Union and the United States would be counterproductive for Mr. Duterte, whose frequent criticisms of the West made international headlines after his election in 2016.
Address other issues
Baguilat said he wished that the President would use his massive political capital to address other pressing issues, such as poverty, which continues to afflict 20 percent of Filipinos.
“We have more problems than just drugs. These are serious problems too that need the attention of the President,” he said in a statement.
Baguilat said he backed Mr. Duterte’s relentless campaign against drugs, which has left some 6,000 people dead, but stressed that the campaign must be waged “the right way,” meaning, by abiding by the country’s laws and reforming the justice system.
“The culture of violence should not take hold,” said Baguilat. “In the Philippines, everyone is still innocent until proven guilty. The President says he’s sorry for the innocents killed in the drug war. I hope 2017 engenders a Philippine National Police that is more focused on lawful arrests and stopping the murders.”
Baguilat also said he hoped that his colleagues in Congress, both in the House of Representatives and the Senate, would resolve to be “more independent thinkers” this year.
He urged them not to pass the death penalty bill, which is being pushed in the Lower House by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez as a priority bill of the administration.