By Genalyn Kabiling
Government detractors should “better shut up” if they do nothing but criticize the government, President Duterte declared on Saturday.
The President said critics, like Sen. Francis Pangilinan whom he described as the “pinakabobo sa lahat [the most stupid of all], only look for mistakes and criticize the government for them.
“Gaya niyang maghanap ka lang ng butas pero make sure that your argument is also better than mine because if you do not have anything to say except to criticize like Pangilinan, well I’m sorry, better shut up,” he said during his visit to Palawan on Saturday.
“Wala ka talaga. Ikaw ‘yung abogado nalaman kong pinakabobo sa lahat [You are nothing. You’re the most stupid lawyer of all],” he said.
The President unleashed another tirade against Pangilinan, blaming him for the law that supposedly let young criminals get away with their offense.
Pangilinan was the author of Republic Act 9344 of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006 that exempts minors below 15 years old from criminal liability.
“Fifteen years old, hindi mo makulong. Doon tayo nagkaroon ng great injustice [You can send to jail 15 years old. That’s where we have a great injustice],” he said.
“Hindi mo talaga ma-detain ang bata whatever the crime may be. It could even be genocide. Walang sasagutin [You cannot detain a minor whatever the crime may be. It could even be genocide. No one will be held responsible],” he said.
Prior to the Pangilinan law, a child aged 9 or under who commit an offense was exempted from criminal liability and released to the custody of parents.
The President previously lashed out at Pangilinan for the flawed juvenile justice law, saying the senator was unlikely to win another elective post in the future.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III recently proposed an amendment to the law to bring down the age of criminality liability to 13 years old. Criminal syndicates were allegedly abusing the law’s provision to use minors to commit crimes.