Vice President Leni Robredo on Wednesday reminded government officials to consider possible consequences when making public pronouncements because they speak for the Filipino people.
For his part, Senator Richard Gordon defended President Rodrigo Duterte’s political incorrectness by saying the pressures of solving the country’s problems sometimes weighed too heavily on Duterte’s shoulders.
Robredo issued the “unsolicited advice” when she attended the Senate deliberation on the proposed budget of her office.
When the media prodded her to comment on President Duterte’s obscenity-laden rant against US President Barack Obama whom he called “son of a whore,” Robredo replied: “All of us, not only the President, even me, all government officials.”
“What government officials say is not personal. So all of us have to be careful,” she said.
Robredo said Obama’s decision to call off his bilateral meeting with Duterte at the sidelines of the Asean summit was unfortunate, but added that she remained hopeful that any damage caused by the Philippine leader’s remark could still be repaired.
But Gordon said a golden opportunity for better understanding and communicating may have been missed. Still, Gordon said, the relations between the Philippines and the US will remain strong.
“Countries work on national interest, not on personalities alone. Even Obama’s statement reflected that. Remember Obama came from Chicago. People in New York, Chicago, are all tough even in their words,” he said.
Gordon also opined that although Duterte may not be as cosmopolitan as the other presidents and his diplomatic skills may need further improvement, he was right in saying that there was no need for a “primus inter pares” treatment by America or for it to take a holier-than-thou attitude on the Philippine war against drugs.
The senator pointed out that Duterte had so much in his plate solving the drug problem and other issues, that he is prone to making statements he later regrets.
He claimed that “91 percent of this country have not really complained about what is happening.”
Gordon asserted that “nobody knows who are behind the vigilante killings. Again nobody knows about the killings perpetrated by persons riding in tandem on motorcycles. That has been going on in this country for a long time and nobody was complaining, even in the international community.”
“Even if their people are being beheaded by the Abu Sayyaf and now, finally after so many bombing of ships, plazas—you know 116 people were killed in the ferryboat here a few years ago, 39 people were killed in Parang and in 2003 there were two killings by bombings, etc. Nobody really wanted to have a solution to it. Now that it is being addressed. We have a problem. He wants to solve the problem,” he added.
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