By Hannah Torregoza
Opposition Senator Leila de Lima said the Duterte administration should heed Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s advice to stop abusing its power to get back at its critics and the leaders of the opposition.
De Lima, currently detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) custodial center over drug charges, said that instead of harassing opposition leaders, Duterte should listen to Ibrahim’s advice “by respecting human rights, upholding the rule of law, and strengthening our country’s criminal justice system.”
“If he is indeed the strongman that he projects himself to be, Mr. Duterte should stop using his power to silence dissenters and oppress opposition leaders, especially Sen. Sonny who does not cower at the threats of dictators,” de Lima said in a statement.
Ibrahim, who is in the country, told reporters in an interview that he “would certainly want him (Duterte) to continue to ensure that there’s a vibrant democracy and respect for the rule of law in the Philippines.”
This was after he was asked if he had any piece of advice he can give to Duterte following the latter’s controversial revocation of the amnesty granted to his staunch critic, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, through Proclamation No. 572.
Ibrahim, who is said to be poised as the next Malaysia prime minister, was also tried and jailed on various politically motivated charges over the past 20 years.
“I also made my position known that except for a pure or specific criminal case or charge where due process is respected, I do not condone it, I do not agree, that political leaders, dissidents, journalists are treated in that manner,” noted Ibrahim when asked about De Lima’s plight.