Duterte now hands off in Uson-Aquino verbal tussle
LAPU-LAPU CITY – President Rodrigo Duterte is keeping his hands off the verbal tussle between Assistant Communications Secretary Mocha Uson and Kris Aquino.
Although he personally acknowledged that he apologized to Aquino through Presidential Special Assistant Christopher “Bong” Go, the President said she could not force Uson to do the same.
“As I respect the opposition, I must also respect the people in my camp. She (Uson) has invoked the right of freedom of expression,” he said in a press conference following the inauguration of the new Terminal 2 of the Mactan Cebu International Airport on Thursday evening.
“Once nag-invoke ka ng ganun, wala akong magagawa (there’s nothing I can do). As long as you’re a Filipino citizen, I will respect your right to freedom of expression,” he added.
The issue started after Uson posted in her Facebook page a video of Aquino’s father, the late Senator Benigno Aquino Jr., receiving kisses from admirers on board a plane minutes before he was assassinated in 1983, as a way of defending the President who kissed a married Filipino woman on the lips during his recent state visit to Seoul, South Korea.
Aquino reacted to the post saying it was disrespectful to her deceased parents and that she had to defend them on their behalf.
Go said he already apologized to Aquino regarding Uson’s post and that he also conveyed the President’s apology.
“Yes, totoo (it’s true). I said to Bong tell her we’re sorry about the incident,” the President said during the press conference.
“Now, there’s a verbal tussle there. And she (Uson) has invoked freedom of expression. She has invoked the sacred right that’s guaranteed under the Constitution,” he added.
In his speech at the inauguration of Cebu airport’s new passenger terminal, the President also explained that he would really “embrace and kiss people who want to be kissed” even when he was still mayor of Davao City. /ee
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