Palace calls for unity, welcomes ‘constructive’ dissent

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Malacañang has renewed its call for unity with those who lost in the recent midterm polls, saying they should set aside political differences for the betterment of Filipinos.

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

In an interview with Palace reporters, Panelo reiterated Malacañang’s willingness to work with those who ran against President Duterte’s senatorial bets.

“We are putting our hands and offering our friendship to the opposition. As I said in my statement, let us unite and build a better Philippines. It’s about time to do that,” he said Wednesday.

He, however, said they will not force the opposition to join the majority, pointing out that their role is important in keeping democracy alive in the country.

“Ang dissent will always be there, pero kailangan yung constructive, hindi yung mudslinging (Dissent will always be there, but it needs to be constructive and not in a form of mudslinging),” Panelo said.

The Palace official then told those who lost in the elections to humbly accept their defeat, saying there will be other things for them to do.

“It’s not the end of the world for those who lost. Ganyan talaga ang buhay (Life’s just like that),” Panelo said.

Based on partial, unofficial vote count, the senatorial bets of President Duterte are poised to be part of the 18th Congress. According to Panelo, this only shows that people believe in the President.

Panelo had also expressed that the Senate will always be independent from the Executive, even urging allies of President Duterte to speak out if his policies are against the interest of the people.

“The history of the Senate shows members of that chamber independent ever since. No Senate has ever been under any president. They always rise above parties and considerations, when issues involve national interest, national security and the interest of the Filipino people,” he said.

“We expect them to be fealty to the duties imposed to them by the Constitution and the laws. They have to support the President when the agenda of the President is for the good of the people. And they will have to oppose it if they feel, in their conscience, that it run counter to the interest of the nation,” he added.