Duterte mulls lawsuit vs Del Rosario: 'You're guilty of treason'

Published July 20, 2021, 1:57 AM

by Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte is looking into filing a flurry of lawsuits against one of his vocal critics former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario.

President Duterte delivers a televised public address from Davao City on July 19, 2021. (Malacañang)

Addressing the nation Monday night, the President said he intends to run after Del Rosario, alleging that the former government official was guilty of treason.

Duterte previously lashed out at Del Rosario for his role in the country’s reported loss of Panatag Shoal during a standoff with China several years ago. The country withdrew its ships from the disputed shoal in June 2012 supposedly upon the United States intervention in a bid to end the tensions. China however did not leave the area and effectively took control of the territory then.

“You know we are still investigating it, but you know ikaw Albert, Alberto, pag nasilip ko na mayroon ka, I will charge you for…Marami ako idedemanda są iyo (I will file many charges against you),” Duterte said in a speech from Davao City.

“I have not, for the life of me, sued anybody, libel or anything during my 23 years, four years as congressman, tapos vice mayor hanggang presidente pero ikaw ang hahabulin ko kasi ikaw nag-transmit sa message. You are in olden times, kung at war lang tayo sana (then vice mayor until I became president but I will run after you. You transmitted the message. You are in the old times, if we were at war) you are guilty of treason,” he added.

Duterte also questioned Del Rosario’s citizenship, saying he did not look like a Filipino.

“Hindi ka Pilipino. Kung saan ka napulot, bakit itsura mo. Hindi ka Pilipino sa totoo lang. ang mabigat sa yo, ikaw yung nag-transmit and i said that is treason (You are not a Filipino. I don’t know where you were found. Why do you look like that. You’re not really a Filipino. The serious charge is you transmitted the message and I said that is treason),” he said.

READ: Duterte wants death by hanging for Del Rosario over PH ship pullout from Panatag Shoal

Last May, the President threatened to execute “by hanging” Del Rosario, saying the latter must be investigated and held accountable for the pullout of the country’s ships from Panatag Shoal. Duterte, in seeking a probe, wanted to know if the ship pullout had the consent of then President Benigno Aquino III.

Following the Panatag Shoal standoff, the Aquino administration pursued an arbitration case against China’s excessive claims in the sea before the Hague tribunal and won in 2016. Beijing however has refused to recognize the tribunal decision.

Duterte had blamed past administration officials for the loss of Panatag Shoal years ago. He resented that officials like Del Rosario were now passing the buck and criticizing his supposed soft approach towards China in the West Philippine Sea dispute.

READ: Duterte to Del Rosario: You’re not a Filipino

Del Rosario, alongside former Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio, called on Duterte to vigorously assert the country’s ownership of the West Philippine Sea following the controversial unlawful stay of Chinese ships in local waters.

In the same speech, the President slammed Del Rosario over allegations that China meddled in the 2016 elections. Duterte asserted that there was no way to buy 16 million votes to ensure his poll victory then.

Duterte also wanted to confront Del Rosario, asking where he could possibly find him. If he was in a coffee shop, he said he wanted to throw a cup of coffee into the former official’s face.

Duterte, a former Davao City mayor, scored a landslide victory over his rivals during the polls five years ago. His six-year term will end next year but his political party has encouraged Duterte to run for vice president, an idea he is currently thinking over.

READ: Duterte blasts Del Rosario over China election interference claims