Vice President Sara Duterte has this to say over accusations by former Akbayan Partylist Rep. and vice presidential candidate Walden Bello that she was behind his arrest over libel charges: “Stop obsessing over me.”
“Mr. Bello should focus on salvaging what remains of his dignity and self-respect, I am asking him to stop obsessing over me — and stop blaming me for his fall from grace,” she said in a statement.
Even during the 2022 campaign, the Vice President and concurrent Education secretary stressed that she did not share her spotlight with Bello “despite the offensives he launched against me” because she was focused on her campaign.
Duterte was responding to accusations hurled by Bello that she was behind his arrest for libel and cyber libel. She denied filing a libel case as she had never done it in her life.
“Criticisms do not deserve even a backward glance because the accomplishments of Davao City under my leadership are already set in stone,” Duterte said.
She reminded the former lawmaker and long-time activist not to drag her into his legal woes.
“The right to freedom of speech and expression does not protect anyone from defiling the name and reputation of others,” she added.
“Mr. Bello — supposedly a respected international educator and a human rights activist — took it so low and displayed a disgraceful version of himself, making him the perfect poster boy of someone we hope our children will not become when they grow up,” the Vice President furthered.
Duterte slammed the former lawmaker for calling the charges against him “silly” since this was an “insult to the Prosecutors and the time and effort they put in to uphold the rule of law.”
Bello was arrested on Monday, Aug. 8, in Quezon City over libel charges filed by former Davao City Information Officer Jefry Tupas, who now heads the Office of the Vice President’s (OVP) Media and Public Relations Division.
During an ambush interview by the media, Bello, who once challenged Duterte to attend debates during the campaign, accused the Vice President’s camp of being behind the charges and his arrest.
His Laban sa Masa group said Duterte is using Tupas to get her revenge on Bello for the insults— once calling her a coward—he hurled against her during the campaign.