On the remarks of Senator Pangilinan

The political opposition is running out of issues to the point that its members are running berserk in their accusation against the President.

The remarks of Senator Francis Pangilinan not only are intellectually challenged but infinitely reckless as well. Obviously, it is an attempt at gaining political mileage to boost the chances of its senatorial candidates. Using the death of Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe for such purpose however is a blatant disrespect to his memory.

First, we strongly condemn the brazen and senseless killing of Rep. Batocabe. To associate his death to the current government’s campaign against illegal drugs is grossly irresponsible and utterly unfair. The President considers such kind of heinous crime belonging to the leading class which he desires to eliminate. It is the opposition which seeks to cushion the full force of the law against the perpetrators by speaking against the President’s relentless drive to end the drug menace instead of supporting it.

Second, the “daily killings” that the Senator attributes to the Duterte administration are not state-sanctioned. We reiterate that the President does not – and will never – condone extrajudicial and vigilante killings. Accountability remains a core of good governance and PRRD has made clear his stance relative thereto. Legitimate operations must follow protocols and authorities have the right to protect themselves from suspects who resist arrest and put up a violent fight that endanger their lives.

Finally, we always stress that any violation committed by arresting state agents, including those who abuse authority, would be dealt with accordingly, as exemplified in the case of Kian de los Santos where three erring policemen were arrested and subsequently convicted.

The President will not be sidetracked in his constitutional duty to protect the people by the nasty comments of the opposition stalwarts who should know better.

Salvador S. Panelo
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel
& Presidential Spokesperson

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