Hontiveros says Mayor Sara’s tirades against her a validation of her work on human rights

By Mario Casayuran

Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday said Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio’s attacks against her work on democracy and human rights validates what she has been espousing and vindicates her position on important issues.

"Every insult from the Mayor is a reading on the barometer I can use, second to none, to confirm how effective my office is in advancing democratic interests and goals. Sa bawat banat niya, nalalaman natin na tama ang ating ginagawa,’’ she said. (Her attacks only shows that the direction of my work is correct.)

Senator Risa Hontiveros gives a statement regarding the custody of witnesses to the Kian Delos Santos slay during a press conference in Ermita, Manila on Wednesday. (JAY GANZON) Senator Risa Hontiveros (JAY GANZON / MANILA BULLETIN)

This, as the presidential daughter, along with Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, led the start of the political campaign for the pro-Duterte administration’s senatorial candidates in Pampanga Tuesday.

"The last time Mayor Sara had something to say about me, she ridiculed my opposition to the lowering of the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility (MACR), even kindly "advising" me to walk the streets to "know the reality on the ground." Excuse me, I started my work life as a community organizer among farmers and fisherfolk 30 years ago in Rizal province. And unfortunately for the good mayor, the recent Social Weather Station (SWS) survey showed that the majority of Filipinos oppose the lowering of the MACR.

How's that for a reality check? Pardon my French, but I’m not the one with my head in my ass,’’ she said.

Hontiveros comments followed the presidential daughter’s defense of Persida Acosta, head of the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO).

The lady senator had asked for the resignation of Acosta. Mayor Sara, in turn, also asked for her (Hontiveros’) resignation and demanded that she should provide "solutions" and not merely criticize.

Hontiveros stressed that calling for Acosta's resignation was part of the solution.

"Acosta's resignation would remove the pseudo-science, fear-mongering and lies that hijacked the Dengvaxia discourse. It would help ensure an impartial investigation of the issue, end speculations that the matter is being politicized and prevent further panic and fear from being inflicted on the public. For someone who is supposedly against incompetence, the Mayor is surprisingly hostile to my call,’’ she said.

"Second, it is saddening that Mayor Sara can call for my resignation but not of those who have condoned the killing of tens of thousands, those who have eroded public trust in the government's vaccination program, those who have plundered the nation's coffers, those who have surrendered our sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea and those who have collaborated with the Marcoses in revising history. What's keeping Mayor Sara from going after these people who are the real dangers to our nation and society?’’ she pointed out.

"As for solutions, my legislative track record speaks for itself. From the Mental Health Law, the Expanded Maternity Leave Law, the Strengthened Anti-hospital Deposit Law, the Safe Streets and Public Spaces Act, the Philippine HIV and AIDS Policy law, the First 1000 Days Law up to the Positive Discipline Act, we have done the hard work. We have delivered. We do this even as we continue to add our voice of dissent to hold this government to account and defend democracy,’’ she added.