Work to unite the nation instead of "glorifying a dictator," said Vice President Leni Robredo on Friday in a message to President Rodrigo Duterte, in response to his comments that the country was better off with a dictator "like (Ferdinand ) Marcos "then with her at the helm.
"Instead of continuing to glorify a dictator who has stolen billions from our country, put the nation in debt and chaired the murder and imprisonment of thousands of Filipinos, he can work to unite of the nation and our people, especially those on the fringes, that their voices are heard and that their daily distress will quickly diminish, "Robredo said.
In a speech on Thursday, Mr Duterte again said that he wanted to stop before his term expired in 2022, but that he was reluctant to transfer power to Robredo, who was not his running mate.
"You're better off with a dictator in the will of Marcos, I suggested, you can have constitutional succession (with) Robredo, but they can not hack it," he said during the 49th Mandaue City Charter Day in Cebu.
Mr. Duterte said earlier that he wanted to be his successor, former Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., the son of the deceased dictator who lost during the vice-presidential race in 2016. The younger Marcos had filed a protest against Robredo and accused her of fraud.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the president's preference for Marcos is simply his & # 39; personal belief & # 39; used to be.
"With all due respect for the vice president, that's a personal assessment by the president," Roque said.
Members of the opposition also closed Mr Duterte's remarks, with the former chairman of the Commission for Human Rights, Etta Rosales, who said that it was time for Filippino's to wake up and not to be fooled by measures taken by the government with a view to the establishment of a dictatorship.
"This is why he wants to get rid of the 1987 Charter, a governance framework that restored the democratic rule and principles of separation of powers, checks and balances, human rights and social justice from a dictatorship under Marcos," Rosales said.
Distracting public attention
Rosales, a survivor of martial law atrocities, said Duterte's words reflected the thinking of a "fascist leader who does not believe in democratic rule or in human rights."
She compared the president with Marcos who, she said, "ruled by the sword and did not hesitate to kill in order to enrich herself and remain in power."
For Senator Francis Pangilinan, the president's remarks were an attempt to divert the attention of the public from more important matters.
Like Robredo, Pangilinan said that the administration should concentrate on tackling urgent problems affecting our compatriots, such as the smuggling of illicit drugs, the import of formalin-contaminated fish and rice infected with weevils.
"Leni attacks is another attempt to divert public attention from the tons of missing smuggled & # 39; shabu & # 39; and missing NFA [National Food Authority] rice from the market, "Pangilinan said.
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV warned that the president "laid the foundation for an extra-constitutional takeover".
"He tries to influence military leadership by romanticizing an autocratic rule," said Trillanes. "But it just will not work, the army knows well and will never give in to it."
Trillanes said the president demonized Robredo because he was aware that "in any scenario where there is a constitutional transition of power, he and his followers would certainly be responsible for their actions."
Roque said that Mr Duterte's statements would not affect the electoral protest against Robredo, who was critical of the president's lethal war on drugs.
"The Presidential Electoral Tribunal carries out the so-called revisions of the vote, so it is the ballot papers that will speak and not the judges individually," he said.
The outspoken admiration of Mr. Duterte for the much-vexed Marcos is controversial, with many Filipinos still tormented by his brutal rule of two decades that ended in his overthrow in a popular, army-backed revolt in 1986.
Over the years, the Marcos family has regained political power, with Marcos' widow Imelda now a congressman, his son and namesake a former senator, and daughter Imee a provincial governor, who is generally believed to be in 2019 for Senator is running.
President Duterte once had Marcos the brightest & # 39; Philippine president and publicly indicted his burial in Libingan ng mga Bayani in November 2016.-WITH REPORTS OF JULIE M. AURELIO, GARBRIEL PABICO LALU
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