MANILA, Philippines – It is the President's appointees, not the opposition, who are destabilizing the Duterte administration, minority Senator Francis Pangilinan said on Monday, March 13.
"PNP may problema. BI may problema. NFA may problema. NIA may problema. TPB (Tourism Promotions Board) may problema. Secretary Yasay may problema. Hindi naman destab [destabilization], kundi mga appointees mismo ng gobyerno ang gumagawa ng paninira sa administrasyon," Pangilinan said in an interview on Monday, a transcript of which was sent to media.
(The PNP has problems. The BI has problems. The NFA has problems. The NIA has problems. The TPB has problems. Secretary Yasay has problems. It's not destabilization, the government appointees are the ones destroying the administration.)
The Liberal Party president was referring to the problems hounding the police in its fight against illegal drugs; the corruption allegations against former NIA chief Peter Laviña, the Bureau of Immigration, and TPB Chief Operations Officer Cesar Montano; and the lies of former foreign secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr over his US citizenship that prompted the Commission on Appointments to reject him.
Pangilinan also responded to Senator Panfilo Lacson's allegation that the "media hopping" of retired policeman Arturo "Arthur" Lascañas is part of a plot to destabilize the government. (WATCH: Rappler Talk Investigative: Arturo Lascañas, Duterte loyalist no more)
"[They're] doing the rounds. It was too obvious. So what was the purpose? Why was he media hopping and doing interviews? There were live and taped interviews. You can easily read through the purpose. It was clear that it was being conducted to destabilize the presidency. The effort to create noise was very evident," Lacson said in a radio interview with dzBB.
Lascañas, who was a longtime Davao City cop, is the second whistle-blower to directly link President Rodrigo Duterte to the Davao Death Squad, which allegedly carried out extrajudicial killings when Duterte was mayor.
Pangilinan said the Senate investigation should be reopened once more witnesses surface. If the Senate declines to do so, the senator said the "international community" could investigate it.
"Kung may lulutang pa na testigo, dapat muling buksan ang imbestigasyon. Kung totoo ang sinasabi ni Lascañas dapat lang siyang makapagsalita tungkol sa katotohanan at tungkulin din ng Senado na busisiin at ungkatin ang katotohanan," Pangilinan said.
(If there are other witnesses who will surface, the investigation should be reopened. If Lascañas is saying the truth, it is just right that he be allowed to speak about it and it is the Senate's duty to scrutinize the truth.)
"Kung hindi papansinin ang pag-ungkat sa katotohanan dito sa bansa, maari rin dumulog sa international community para dito at hindi ibig sabihin destabilization ang layunin nito," he added.
(If the truth will be ignored, it can be presented before the international community. This does not mean that the aim is to destabilize the government.)
Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email email@example.com