Bacani’s challenge is ‘outright silly, childish, absurd’ — Palace

Published January 16, 2019, 3:43 PM

by Dhel Nazario, Jeffrey G. Damicog, and Rey G. Panaligan

By Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte would have loved to roam the streets without bodyguards but is restrained by Palace security protocols, Malacañang declared Wednesday.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo made the remark even after dismissing Novaliches Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani’s challenge to the President to ditch his security escorts in his outdoor activities as “silly,” “childish,” and absurd.”

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)

“PRRD would have loved to accept the challenge but security protocols are observed for his protection as President – a position carrying awesome responsibilities requiring him to attend to the problems of the nation. A position that the good bishop has never held and might never assume in his lifetime,” he said.

Bacani earlier said if Duterte was really brave, he should walk the streets without security escorts just like bishops. He was reacting to Duterte’s recent call to street idlers to rob and kill rich bishops.

Panelo, however, rejected Bacani’s attempt to gain publicity with his latest challenge to the President.

“The challenge of Novaliches Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani, Jr. to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to walk around without security not only is outright silly and childish but absurd as well,” he said.

“It was evidently made with the sole purpose of getting publicity for the challenger,” he added.

Also, Panelo said the President does not have to prove anything about being a “courageous and selfless public servant.”

“Such gutsy reputation precedes him and is one of the reasons which enthralled the Filipino masses who longed for a strong and decisive action man as their country’s top leader which they have not experienced with his predecessor,” he said.

Panelo cited instances when Duterte displayed his courage since he was mayor of Davao City.

He said the former local chief executive used to patrol Davao City alone “disguised as a taxi driver to go after criminals who prowled on citizens at night.”

Duterte also roamed Davao City alone aboard his motorcycle “to examine the happenings around his turf at a time when Davao City was a killing field,” he added.

“There was also a hostage-taking incident which hogged banner headlines where he substituted himself as a hostage for the release of the hostage victim,” Panelo said.

“No person in this country has ever done offering his life in exchange for the freedom of a hostage victim except this President,” he added.

In the end, Panelo urged the Bishop to be judicious with his public comments to avoid embarrassment.

“We thus ask the good bishop to be more judicious when it comes to oratories against the President, especially when it comes to challenging the latter in his element, so as to avoid being embarrassed,” he said.