It's about principle, not loyalty, opposition tells Sara Duterte

MANILA, Philippines – Three opposition senators responded to Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio over her social media post calling them out for previously seeking the family’s help.

Carpio slammed Senators Francis Pangilinan, Risa Hontiveros, and Antonio Trillanes IV and called them "plastic and opportunists."

The mayor said Trillanes, through his emissary, requested to meet her in Davao City “years ago," but she turned it down because she disliked the senator since the Manila Peninsula siege in late 2007.

Just as her father had claimed and the senator himself had confirmed, Duterte-Carpio said Trillanes met with Duterte during the last campaign period and asked for his help in his vice presidential bid.

Trillanes, now one of the President’s fiercest critics, said he did not know yet then that Duterte was a murderer and a thief.

“Ang mga panunumbat ni Mayor Sara Duterte ay noong hindi ko pa kilalang mamamatay tao at magnanakaw ang tatay niyang si President. Duterte. Iba na ngayon. Alam ko na ang katotohanan (Mayor Sara Duterte's reminders involves the time when I did not know yet that his father was a killer and a thief. It's different now. I now know the truth), Trillanes said.

“'Di ba naisip ni Sara Duterte na di hamak na mas madaling maging oportunista sa pagsipsip ngayon kay Duterte imbes na kalabanin siya? (Doesn't Sara Duterte think that it's much easier to be an opportunist now by being a suck up to Duterte than going against him?)

Trillanes reiterated jis challenge to the Duterte family to sign a bank secrecy waiver. It was the senator who accused the President and his family of having billions in secret bank accounts.

“Maiba ko, kelan kayo pipirma ng waiver para mapatunayan 'nyo sa taong bayan na hindi kurakot ang pamilya ninyo (On another topic, when are you signing the waiver to prove to the public that your family is not corrupt)?" he said.

Principle, service?

Pangilinan, whom Carpio recalled sought the help of her father for the former’s senatorial bid, expressed sadness over the mayor’s comments and said criticisms are part of democracy.

While he said he knows how to pay debt of gratitude, his responsibilities to the country are more important.

Pangilinan claimed he funded several projects in Davao City to repay them for their support in the senatorial elections.

“Nalulungkot tayo sa mga paratang sa atin ni Mayor Sara Duterte sa social media. Marunong din naman tayong tumanaw ng utang na loob sa mga tumulong sa atin sa halalan. Kasama na dito ang Davao City. At sa katunayan, ilang proyekto din ang nilaan natin sa Davao mula 2001 hanggang 2012 sa dalawang termino natin bilang senado,” Pangilinan said in a statement. 

(We are saddened by the accusations of Mayor Sara Duterte on her social media. We know how to pay debt of gratitude to those who helped us in the elections, including Davao City. In fact, we have allotted several projects in Davao from 2001 to 2012 in my two terms in the Senate.)

“Subalit ang tungkulin natin sa bayan at sa kapwa Pilipino ay mas matimbang sa anumang pagkakaibigan. May hangganan din ang tumanaw ng utang na loob (But our responsibility to the nation and to our fellowmen are more important than friendship. There's a limit to debt of gratitude)," he said.

Like Trillanes, Pangilinan pointed out that it would have been more convenient for him to support the administration instead of being in the opposition. But he reiterated he could not agree with the spate of drug-related killings and the illegal entry of P6.4-billion worth of shabu.

“Mas madali at may pakinabang sa nag-a-ambisyon ang tumahimik na lang at sumama sa agos. Marami sa Partido Liberal ang lumipat na sa PDP-Laban dahil sa ambisyon at sa pulitika. Dapat sana ganun din ako," Pangilinan said.

(It's easier and it would be more beneficial to an ambitious politician to just keep quiet and go with the flow. Many from the Liberal Party have jumped to PDP-Laban because of ambition and politics. I could be one of them but [I did not])

“Kahit sikat at popular ang ating Pangulo, hindi pa rin tama ang araw-araw na patayan lalo na ng mga bata at ang pagpapalusot ng tone-toneladang shabu sa Customs. Yan ang mga dahilan kaya tayo pumupuna (Even if the President is popular, the daily killings, especially of minors, and the smuggling of tons of shabu through Customs are not right), he said.

Hontiveros said she remains grateful for the mayor’s support during her campaign but the issue is not about loyalty but about service.

Amid Duterte-Carpio’s criticisms, Hontiveros said she wished the mayor well.

“I harbor the Mayor no ill will and I wish her well. But this is not a question of loyalty. This is a matter of service, of consistency and of principle, and the defense of the rule of law and human rights. I am sure, as a fellow public servant, she understands that,” Hontiveros said.

Duterte-Carpio, in her post, criticized Hontiveros who, she said, "badgered" her many times to ask for Davao City votes when the mayor took part in Byaheng Du30 or the campaign caravan of her father. “I can remember your bored face listening to me in our law office so you can get support for Davao,” she said in the post.

“I am saddened by Mayor Sara Duterte’s recent remarks against me, especially since we have had several friendly interactions over the years. I am grateful for her support during my election campaign and I have honored that support by defending women’s and gender rights, health, human rights, and our country’s democracy,” Hontiveros said.

“From the very beginning, Mayor Sara knows where I stand on the issues of human rights and the extrajudicial killings that have been happening in the country. I have been consistent in this regard. My stand on the war on drugs and my current criticisms of the administration should come as no surprise,” she added.

The 3 senators, as well as other members of the minority, have strongly criticized the administration’s bloody drug war and other policies. – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is a multimedia reporter focusing on media, technology, and disinformation.

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