Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has branded Mr. Duterte’s national address-turned-one-on-one talk as “cheap gimmick” obviously meant to divert public attention from the country’s failing economy.
De Lima, the first prominent political prisoner under the present administration, said a true leader would focus on facing the issues besetting his country head-on than focusing on his fear of any uprising.
“Any attempt to shift the focus of the national conversation away from our failing economy will just be cheap gimmicks to distract us from holding him and his administration accountable for the dire situation that we are in now,” she said in her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 380.
“A true leader worth his salt would have nothing else on his mind at this moment except to fix the economy, to improve the lives of our countrymen, and protect the poor and the vulnerable members of our society,” she added.
De Lima made the statement hours before Duterte, who alleged that there are efforts by the opposition to topple his presidency, addressed the nation through a one-on-one interview with his president chief legal counsel Salvador Panelo last Sept. 11.
The President’s statement comes at the heels of several issues besetting his administration, including the skyrocketing prices of food items due to the quickening inflation and the highly questionable revocation of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV’s amnesty.
The Senator from Bicol said the Filipino people need to be informed about the government’s efforts to solve the spike on inflation and unemployment, among others, other than witness Duterte’s politicking.
“The prices of basic commodities are soaring at record levels without any significant international crisis on which it can reasonably be blamed. Unemployment and underemployment are also on the rise. PAGASA is now warning us of potential super typhoons about to enter our area of responsibility this week,” she said.
“Now is not the time for the President to play politics. Now is the time for the President to respect and uphold the Constitution. Now is the time for the President to at least attempt to govern,” she added.
De Lima, who remains unjustly detained on trumped-up drug charges fabricated by the Duterte administration, maintained that the Filipino people demand and deserve a President who will serve and work for them.