Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has chided Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio and Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo for disregarding honesty as an important qualification in choosing the candidates in the upcoming elections in May 13.
Contrary to what Duterte-Carpio and Panelo are preaching, De Lima maintained that honesty is an election issue because no less than the Constitution requires that “the State shall maintain honesty and integrity in the public service.”
“Sal Panelo and Sara Duterte represent what is wrong and how things could be worse for our government. It appears that these two pro-administration mouthpieces do not consider the matter of honesty as an important election issue. It is, absolutely,” she said in her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 480.
“Bago pag-usapan kung magaling o edukado ang kandidato, ang unang tanong dapat ng ating botante: Nagsasabi ka ba ng totoo? Naglilingkod ka ba ng tapat?” she added.
Duterte-Carpio, the campaign manager of Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP), maintained honesty is not an election issue because “everybody lies” in response to queries about HNP senatorial candidate Imee Marcos, whose educational attainment was apparently fabricated.
Duterte-Carpio reiterated the same claim in defending HNP bet Christopher “Bong” Go who was accused of using government funds to finance his campaign t-shirts which were distributed during a public assembly attended by barangay officers.
“Sinasabi ko sa kanilang lahat: Walang isang kandidato d’yan na hindi nagsisinungaling kaya hindi dapat nagiging issue ang honesty ngayon,” said the presidential daughter.
In obvious support of Duterte-Carpio’s remark on honesty, Panelo said several instances allow for dishonesty in public office such as when “nagsisinungaling ka lang tungkol sa girlfriend mo or tungkol sa mga kaaway mo.”
De Lima, a human rights and social justice champion, said she believes that the government that does not value honesty and truth in public service is not deserving of the trust and respect of the Filipino people.
“Granted, nobody is perfect. But the blatant disregard for honesty when confronted with a clear and evident truth is damning,” she said.
By saying that honesty is not an issue in the elections, De Lima said that Duterte-Carpio only affirmed the idea that the upcoming May 2019 local and national elections is about the choice between lying elective officials and those who still believe in honesty and integrity in public service.
“Mayor Sara has just done the very opposite. She has made it the No. 1 issue in the elections,” De Lima said in another Dispatch from Crame No. 481.
“It is now up to the people to decide whether to keep a regime of liars, thieves, and plunderers, or to discard the status quo and choose a new breed of leaders who will fight for truth and accountability in government,” she added. De Lima has endorsed and vouched for the integrity of the senatorial candidates of the united opposition “Otso Diretso” namely, Rep. Gary Alejano, Sen. Bam Aquino, human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, civic leader Sam Gutoc, former solicitor general Florin Hilbay, election lawyer Romy Macalintal, former senator Mar Roxas and ex-Rep. Erin Tanada.