Two lady senators defended the media and administration’s critics on Friday from President Rodrigo Duterte’s latest tirades, one saying he should fix himself first and his own backyard “before picking a fight with everybody else.”
“He blames everybody else except himself. His gross intolerance to dissent and criticisms is undoubtedly among the top qualities of this President,” detained Senator Leila de Lima said in a handwritten note sent to reporters.
De Lima noted that Duterte’s “unabashed contempt (for) media and other critics” did not only intensify but his “toxic or vitriol language” had also reached a “seeming apex.”
“Indeed, as today’s PDI editorial puts it, he has lost the argument. And I go further – he has lost his mind (and for quite a while already),” she said.
PDI is the Philippine Daily Inquirer, which along with ABS-CBN, received a tongue-lashing from Duterte in two separate profanity-laced speeches on Thursday supposedly for being rude, corrupt and unfair in their reports about him.
“Why blame the media when there is much of Duterte’s behavior and that of his circle of sycophants that warrants scrutiny and even censure,” De Lima asked.
“We are even seeing now infightings among his privileged men and women, if left unchecked, can only harm the public good,’ she said, “Go fix first yourself and your own backyard Mr. President, before picking a fight with everybody else.”
Senator Risa Hontiveros said she was no longer surprised by Duterte’s latest expletive-laden remarks against the media, the European Union (EU) and the Church, noting how this administration has “embraced profanity, misogyny and the lack of overall decency as political strategies to attack and silence its critics.”
“It is inconsistent and guided by a double standard. The President can rant and curse at the EU but can’t do the same to China, which has not only fortified its presence in the West Philippine Sea but is also now present at Benham Rise,” Hontiveros said in a separate statement.
“President Duterte can lambast several media outfits as controlled by oligarchs but is sheepish towards the Marcoses, who during Martial Law created their own oligarchy. The President is tough on poor drug dependents but can’t muster the same tough stance against big-time drug lords like Peter Lim.”
She said Duterte’s profanity, sexist rhetoric and double standards should not be mistaken for authenticity while strong leadership and political will should not also be confused with “inane rants sprinkled with cuss words and machismo.”
“When the President’s language degrades and objectifies women, is a virtual threat to the freedom of the press and severely undermines our foreign policy framework, it becomes unacceptable. It must not be tolerated. It must be confronted and resisted,” Hontiveros said.
“Amid these trying times, I urge my friends in the media to continue to exercise their journalistic rights. I also urge our friends in the international community to continue to extend their solidarity to us. Lastly, I call on my fellow women to continue the resistance against the culture and language of killing, misogyny and sexism in the country.”
“We will not be intimidated,” the senator added.
De Lima, who has been detained on drug charges, and Hontiveros are part of the minority bloc in the Senate. IDL/rga
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.