Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. scored President Duterte for claiming that he never promised to take back the West Philippine Sea when he ran during the 2016 presidential poll.
“What is the weight and value of the President’s words? Not much it seems,” Reyes said in a Twitter post Friday, May 7.
“From falsely claiming that he did not include the West Philippine Sea in his campaign promises, he now claims he will resign if proven that his statements on Scarborough Shoal are false,” he added.
In a televised public address on May 3, the President claimed that he never promised the people that he would retake the West Philippine Sea, adding that he did not promise to pressure China over the territorial dispute.
“The President is a swindler of the worst kind it seems. He denies making a campaign promise on the West Philippine Sea even if millions saw it on TV,” Reyes said.
“He says he will resign if his claims on Scarborough Shoal are proven false. These are easily verifiable claims,” he added.
Duterte has challenged former Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio to a debate on the issues related to the West Philippine Sea. The President also offered to resign if he is proven lying about what transpired in the past.
In response, Carpio has accepted the President’s debate challenge, with the Philippine Bar Association offered to host a debate.
“If he (Duterte) backtracks on the debate then his words really do not count for much. Siya ang nanghamon pero siya ang aatras? (He was the one who lodge the challenge but he was the first one to back off?),” Reyes said.
Amid the heated word war between Duterte and Carpio, the Bayan leader called for the unity of the Filipino people in demanding the withdrawal of China from the West Philippine Sea.
“Generations of students must be taught genuine patriotism and to reject Duterte’s mendicancy,” Reyes said.
“We’re at a historic juncture of national awakening against China’s aggression. We should push forward and make Duterte accountable for his betrayal of the Filipino people,” he added.