By Macon Araneta i FilAm Star Correspondent
Sen. Panfilo Lacson described as “maybe good but not applicable” the statement of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte that Filipinos should not listen to the President’s interpretation of the Bible or Qur’an.
“It is good advice but may not be applicable because her father is the President of the Republic,” stressed Lacson.
The Senator, an ally of the President, said Filipinos listen for different reasons whenever the President talks.
“Some are waiting for his mistakes so they can have a field day criticizing him; others want to be informed, so they will learn and be guided by his policy statements; the rest may simply want to be entertained. In any case, we all listen,” also said Lacson.
Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV believes the President should be responsible for any word that comes out of his mouth as it has a “presumption of truth” being the highest elected official in the country.
He noted that it’s not the Filipinos listening to him who should filter what they will believe or not.
He insisted that there should be presumption of truth in all the words spoken by the President— if those are offensive, they should be taken seriously.
Duterte was under fire due to his remark when he called “God, stupid.”
Duterte’s daughter defended him, saying the President was entitled to his own opinion.
“Please do not listen to him interpret the Bible or Qur’an. He is not a priest, a pastor or an imam. He is the President, listen only when he speaks about his work. And criticize him on his work not on his ‘talkkalese,’” she said in an Instagram post.
“Do not waste your negative energy on his interpretation of the Bible, that is his opinion. He is protected by the constitutional right to freedom of speech and expression even if he is President,” she added.
Earlier, Trillanes called on the President to publicly apologize over his “stupid God” remark.
The opposition Senator said Malacañang is attempting to deceive the public once again.
“The issue is not about Duterte’s freedom of expression or his freedom to choose his faith.
The issue is about Duterte’s gross disrespect and mockery of the Filipino Christians’ faith,” said Trillanes, a staunch critic of the President.
Trillanes was referring to the defense of presidential spokesperson Harry Roque that Duterte is entitled to his own spirituality amid the criticisms.
“Duterte created this mess, unprovoked. For that, he needs to publicly apologize with total sincerity,” said Trillanes, adding that “It is simply indefensible.”
He emphasized that Duterte and his propaganda team must not be allowed to spin or twist this issue.
He further said that the Duterte administration should drop the gimmick of having a dialogue with the Catholic Church and religious groups.
“It will not mitigate the offense or assuage the offended emotions of the people,” he said.
The Philippines for Jesus Movement, led by Bro. Eddie Villanueva, earlier asked Duterte to apologize publicly not only to them but to God.
Meanwhile, Sen. Win Gatchalian said the initiative of President Rodrigo Duterte to form a panel which will engage leaders of the Catholic Church and other religious denominations shows that he is open to working on his relationships with religious leaders.
“I hope these dialogues will end up fostering mutual respect, cooperation, and understanding between the President and the religious faithful,” said Gatchalian, a close ally of the President.
But Trillanes said this is nothing but a crisis management move by Malacañang to contain the outrage caused by Duterte’s tirades against God. “It has no value at all because it was committed by a clearly unrepentant Duterte against all Christians and not just the Church leaders,” he said.
Akbayan Sen. Risa Hontiveros also sees Duterte’s controversial statement including his calling God stupid a diversionary tactics because it has no concrete policy responses to the country’s important political and economic issues.
She accused Duterte of merely distracting the public’s attention from pressing issues and asserting that he is succeeding in delivering on his promises to the electorate.
She said all the people see is a long list of broken electoral promises. “First, President Duterte failed to end crime and illegal drug trafficking in his first six months in office.
Second, he has failed to put a stop to labor contractualization. Third, he has broken his promise to farmers to distribute the Coco levy fund. Fourth, he has failed to implement an independent foreign policy, succumbing to China. Fifth, the President has failed to ensure affordable food for Filipinos, unable to protect the people from TRAIN, the rising inflation rate and the unmitigated price of gasoline. The list goes on and on,” Hontiveros said.
She also noted that the President declared war on many fronts– war against illegal drugs, a war against labor contractualization, a war against foreign domination, a war against poverty.
“The President has lost all the wars he has waged. He not only lost, he has cowered in the trenches and waved the white flag of surrender,” Hontiveros stressed.
“It’s all smoke and mirrors. It’s state-sponsored obfuscation. It’s no coincidence that President Duterte has issued provocative statements leading to the second anniversary of our historic victory in the United Nations arbitration tribunal against China and his State of the Nation Address (SONA), both happening this July. There is a clear attempt to divert public attention away from burning issues such as China’s encroachment on our territory and the government’s overall dismal performance,” Hontiveros pointed out.
The opposition Senator enumerated some of the issues that the Duterte administration is trying to deflect:
1. The thousand dead as a result of its bloody drug war, as validated recently by well-known academics and researchers from the country’s top universities
2. The government’s non-transparent and erratic foreign policy, China’s violation of the country’s territorial integrity and the foreign affairs department’s implausible 50-100 “diplomatic actions” against Beijing
3. The gross incompetence and corruption plaguing the current administration
4. The rising inflation rate, the weakening of the Peso and the general slowing down of the economy
5. The deep, negative impacts of TRAIN tax reform on many Filipinos.