By Mario Casayuran
Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Friday said President Duterte is not harassing any of his critics even as he continues to strongly denounce foreign interference in Philippine internal affairs.
Go’s colleague, Senator Imee R. Marcos, said the interference by US lawmakers in Philippine affairs is “too gross and they should stop treating Filipinos as ‘little brown brothers.’’’
“Hindi na tayo colony ng America, dapat konting respeto rin,’’ (The Philippines is no longer a US colony. There should be respect here) Marcos said.
Go emphasized that President Duterte is focused on the welfare of Filipino people and is too old to waste his time on his critics.
“He is not interfering. He is not harassing [anybody]. He is already 74 years old, he has no other interest except for us to work for every Filipino,” he said.
Go issued the statement after a United States Senate panel approved a resolution calling for the release of opposition senator Leila de Lima who was arrested in 2017 arising from illegal drugs-related charges; and for a stop to alleged harassment against journalist Maria Ressa.
“Since they have no business in the domestic affairs of the country, US senators are ignorant about the country’s issues,” he pointed out.
“Sa Senado? Doon sa US? Anong kinalaman nila dito sa Pilipinas, US Senate? Bakit sila nakikialam dito sa Pilipinas? Senador ba sila dito sa ating bansa? Alamin niyo muna sa mga senators ng ibang bansa, alamin niyo muna kung political harassment ba ito, kung talagang mayroong kaso o may kasalanan ang tao (In the Senate? In the US? What is their role here in the Philippines, US Senate? Why are they interfering here in the Philippines? Are they senators here in our country? Senators of other countries should first know if this a political harassment, if there is really a case or if the person concerned has committed wrong),” he said.
“Wag muna kayo manghimasok sa bagay na hindi niyo alam. Alamin n’yo muna ‘yung totoo at may kasong hinaharap at hindi po nangingialam si Pangulong Duterte. Walang ginagawang political harassment po ang ating Pangulo. Hindi po ganun si Pangulong Duterte (You should not interfere in matters that you do not know anything about. Know first the truth and the case they’re facing. President Duterte is not interfering. Our President has not made any political harassment. President Duterte is not like that),” he stressed.
Go, who was Special Assistant to President Duterte, said that he could vouch for the President’s brand of leadership and that harassing his critics is not his style.
“Wala na po siyang ibang interes. Magtrabaho na lang po kami para sa bawat Pilipino. Sabi ko nga pagkatapos ng termino niya, pagkatapos ng termino namin, uwi na kami ng Davao. Not his cup of tea ‘yung pang ha-harass po ng kapwa politika, not his style (He [Duterte] has no other interest. We will only work for the Filipinos. As I have said, that after his term, after our terms, we will go home to Davao. Not his cup of tea to harass his fellow politicians,” he said.
The Philippine Embassy in Washington on Friday warned that the United States Senate Resolution calling for the immediate release of detained Senator Leila de Lima “may be potentially interpreted as posing undue interference” in the country’s domestic affairs.
The resolution, approved at the committee level, condemns the Philippine government for the continued detention of De Lima.
The detained senator was described as a “prisoner of conscience, detained solely on account of her political views and the legitimate exercise of her freedom of expression.” The text also called for the dropping of all charges against Rappler CEO Maria Ressa.
De Lima has been in detention since 2017 for her alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade while Ressa is facing charges for violation of the Anti-Dummy Law and cyber libel. (With a report from PNA)