Bam tells Duterte: Philippines does not need a dictator

Audrey Morallo - Philstar.com
Bam tells Duterte: Philippines does not need a dictator

Sen. Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino reminded President Rodrigo Duterte that the Philippines did not need any dictators.

File photo

MANILA, Philippines — Opposition solons on Friday slammed President Rodrigo Duterte for admitting that he was indeed a dictator, with Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino telling the chief executive that the Philippines does not need a strongman.

Aquino said that a dictatorship before brought violence and killings, lack of jobs, curtailment of freedom and basic rights, massive corruption in government and a huge national debt.

“A dictator is not what we need. Rather, we need a leader who has the capacity to govern and shows genuine concern for the nation, especially its poor,” Aquino said in Filipino.

READ: Duterte: 'Yes, I am a dictator'

He reminded the president that Filipinos fought the dictatorship for Ferdinand Marcos because they knew that a dictatorial style would not bring sufficient income, quality education and safety for Filipino families.

Rep. Tom Villarin (Akbayan), meanwhile, said that Duterte’s admission confirmed what he had been doing in the more than one and a half years he had been in office.

Villarin said that extrajudicial killings in Duterte’s war on drugs, his martial law declaration in Mindanao, contempt for the rule of law, harassment of constitutional officers, crackdown on legitimate dissent, rude and violent language and misogyny were “hallmarks of a dictator.”

“Dictators bring down a country, bring pain and untold sufferings to people and the children who will have a traumatized future,” he said as he stressed that the remark was not a joke or a trivial matter that the Palace could easily dismiss or spin.

READ: De Lima: 'Duterte dictatorship is coming'

Rep. Antonio Tinio (ACT Teachers) said that Duterte’s admission accounted for his disrespect for human rights and due process, attack on the press, contempt for institutional checks and balances and dislike for competitive bidding in infrastructure projects.

“There you have it, straight from the horse’s mouth. Pres. Duterte is a self-confessed dictator,” he said.

Tinio said that the Marcos dictatorship had proven that some things would indeed happen under an authoritarian rule such as massive human rights violation and massive graft and corruption. Tinio said that these two were already well underway under Duterte despite being just over a year into his presidency.

He also enumerated other issues and scandals hounding the administration such as the preliminary examination of a prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on allegations of extrajudicial killings in the government’s war on drugs, the illegal entry of at least P6.4 billion worth of illegal drugs, the questionable P15.5 billion frigate deal of the Philippine Navy and Duterte’s unexplained wealth.

Speaking before 200 former New People’s Army rebels who surrendered to the government, Duterte said, “Yes, it is true. I am a dictator. I have to be a dictator for the good of the country.”

Duterte claimed that he needed to be a dictator or he risked failing to achieve anything for the country.

Boasting of 16 million votes, which were not a majority of votes cast during the 2016 presidential polls, Duterte claimed that his style was acceptable to majority of Filipinos.

READ: Duterte shuns ‘next dictator’ tag

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