By Hannah Torregoza and Raymund Antonio
Senator Francis ‘Kiko’ Pangilinan on Sunday rejected the Duterte administration’s claim that the Liberal Party is planning to destabilize the government, and stressed that the government should instead address rising inflation rates and the rice supply crisis.
“The accusation of destabilization is downright false. It is ridiculous. Dissent is not destabilization,” Pangilinan, LP president, said in a statement.
Vice President and LP chairperson Leni Robredo, in her weekly radio program yesterday said that one proof that the LP is not plotting Duterte’s ouster is the dwindling party membership.
“’Di ba alam naman nila na halos wala nang natira sa partido? Lahat na lumipat sa kanila eh kaya kapag sinabi nilang Liberal Party, sino iyong tinutukoy (Are they not aware that almost no one is left with the party? Everybody moved to their party so if they are talking about the LP, whom are they referring to?),”she said.
“The yellow-Liberal, Trillanes, even the communists. Those three, watch out for them,” President Duterte said in Filipino upon arrival on Saturday at the Davao International Airport from his trips to Israel and Jordan.
His accusations came amid LP’s show of support for Sen.AntonioTrillanes IV, who is facing arrest after the government revoked his amnesty in connection with his role in the Oakwood mutiny during the Arroyo administration.
“Every time scandals and controversies hound this administration, whether it be corruption issues or issues of incompetent governance, it blames the opposition,” said Pangilinan.
Pangilinan said the former ruling party doesn’t mind if the President does not want to listen to the opposition, but his own allies “are sounding the alarm bells.”
Rice and rising prices
“Malacañang should heed the clamor of its own allies and act decisively to solve the rice crisis,” he said.
“For everyone’s sake, instead of throwing baseless accusations at LP and the opposition, the government should listen to the cry of the people and focus on rising prices of goods and lack of jobs that would sufficiently provide for the average Filipino family,” he stressed.
He also said the opposition does not have to do anything to bring down the administration, saying it is competent of doing a good job of destabilizing on its own, either by its incompetence or corruption.
“All Malacañang has to do is listen to its own allies who, like the opposition, are calling for the resignation of DA and NFA officials for causing the rice crisis. Are they destabilizers too?” he pointed out.
Allies’ speaking out
He pointed out that among those who called for decisive action from the government include Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Benjamin Diokno who said the current National Food Authority (NFA) officials should be hanged.
Representatives Joey Salceda and Karlo Nograles have also called for their resignation while Senator Cynthia Villar said public anger may necessitate the replacement of Department of Agriculture (DA) and NFA officials.
Only in the Philippines
In a radio interview, Pangilinan also thumbed down Duterte’s pronouncement of blaming US President Donald Trump for the inflation.
“ That would have been acceptable if other ASEAN countries also experienced high inflation. If Trump is at fault, the other countries should have also experienced it. But were the only ones with a high inflation and lagging far behind.” he pointed out in Filipino.