MANILA (PNA) – Two senators on Thursday criticized President Rodrigo Duterte’s personal attacks against fellow Senator Leila de Lima, asking him to watch his words as they are causing tension between two branches of government.
Senator Risa Hontiveros said the President’s remark has unnecessarily set the Executive and the Senate on a “collision course”.
“His statements depart from the government’s commitment to transparency since one of the best ways to pursue truth is through healthy deliberation driven by facts,” Hontiveros said.
“As a woman, I take deep offense at President Rodrigo Duterte’s latest remarks against fellow Senator Leila de Lima. They are misogynistic,” she added.
She also said that the President’s latest statements establish a consistent and disturbing pattern that is prejudicial to women.
Moreover, she chided the President for giving premium to personal attacks over real arguments and appealed to prejudice rather than discourse.
“While he is known for his colorful language, it is not an excuse to insult and threaten women or target, without basis, a person’s reputation,” she added.
Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan meanwhile said he was “saddened” by the news, noting that the accusations against de Lima are “unfair”.
He said that while he understood that the President is determined to deliver on his campaign promise, he ought to show a “greater degree of civility in the face of disagreements between and amongst both branches of government”.
“We should be able to perform our different roles as servants of the people and accord each other due respect,” Pangilinan said.
He also reminded the President that it was only last week that he publicly stated that de Lima was just doing her job.
“He even said that if he were in her position, he’d do the same thing and investigate the upsurge in drug-related killings,” Pangilinan said.
Duterte, in his speech during the 115th service anniversary of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Camp Crame on Wednesday, mentioned how a certain senator had a “lover” who accepted drug money from the Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa.
Duterte made these remarks after de Lima last week called for a probe on the extra-judicial killings under the administration’s intensified anti-drug campaign.
The former justice secretary has cried foul over the remarks about her, describing them as a form of “character assassination”.