MANILA, Philippines – It wasn’t the true state of the nation but the “sorry state of his mind full of anger, hate, and profanity.”
This, according to Sen. Leila de Lima, was what President Rodrigo Duterte presented to the public on Monday, July 24, during his State of the Nation Address (SONA).
“Instead of being given a report on the government’s accomplishments over the past year and concrete plans for the future, the Filipino people were treated with the same old rubbish rhetoric that lacks substance and sound policy direction,” the detained lawmaker said in a statement issued Tuesday.
The President’s top critic said that his second SONA had “turned out again to be another venue for unloading his resentments and rants on certain sectors, especially his critics.”
“His use of fake facts to question the ownership of Rappler smacks of repressing the free press, and sends a chilling effect to all those who dare report the truth,” said De Lima, pertaining to the President’s claim that the news organization “is owned” by Americans.
“You know when you’re a newspaper you are supposed to be 100 percent Filipino and yet when you start to pierce their identity, it is pala fully owned by Americans. Rappler kayo ba ‘yan?” Duterte said during his SONA.
“Rappler, try to pierce the identity and you’ll end up [seeing] American ownerships,” he added.
Rappler denied Duterte’s claim and said that while it has foreign investors such as Omidyar Network and North Base Media, they do not own the media organization as it is 100 percent controlled by Filipinos.
De Lima also criticized Duterte for allegedly undermining human rights and the rule of law during his SONA. “He speaks as if he owns the whole country, and that the armed forces and the police are his own private armies.”
The SONA that was no longer heard by drug war victims
She said this was the SONA that was no longer watched or heard by over 10,000 Filipinos who were killed after they allegedly fought with authorities or became collateral damage of Duterte’s war on drugs campaign.
“Ito po ang SONA ni Duterte, na hindi na napanood o napakinggan ng mahigit sampung libong Pilipinong pinatay dahil diumano’y nanlaban at nadamay bilang collateral damage ng kanyang war on drugs,” said De Lima.
Based on data from the Philippine National Police, the administration’s war on drugs has resulted in the state-authorized killing of 3,200 drug-linked persons (from July 1, 2016 to June 20, 2017) and 12,833 homicides (from July 1, 2016 to June 16, 2017), about 16 percent of which or 2,098 cases were drug-related but not police-sanctioned,
“Ni hindi man lang sila nabanggit ng Pangulo, at ang kanilang mga pamilya. Kunsabagay, aasahan ba nating magmalasakit ang isang pinunong sanay at manhid na sa patayan at karahasan? Gaya din ng kanyang sinabi: ang importante lang ay magawa niya at masunod ang gusto niya,” the senator said.
[They and their families were not even mentioned by the President. Anyway, can we expect a leader who is already numb to killings and violence to care? Just like what he said: the only important thing is for him to do what he wants.]
‘Spineless policy towards China’
Moreover, De Lima hit Duterte for allegedly masking his “miserable and spineless foreign policy towards China by digging up from our past the United States’ refusal to return the Balangiga bells, while failing to address the elephant in the room, China’s continued invasion and occupation of our territories in the West Philippine Sea.”
“Kung karamihan sa mga nasa Kamara, nagpalakpakan para sumipsip sa Pangulo, sigurado ako, marami sa ating mga kababayan ang napailing at napayuko sa kahihiyan dahil sa mga pinagsasabi ni Duterte,” she said.
[If the majority in Congress clapped their hands to curry favor with the President, I’m sure that many of our countrymen shook and bowed their heads in shame because of Duterte’s pronouncements.]