Opposition slams Duterte’s ‘defeatist’ SONA 2018

Sofia Tomacruz
Opposition slams Duterte’s ‘defeatist’ SONA 2018
(UPDATED) Senator Antionio Trillanes IV says the President’s SONA has failed to present any real solutions to the problems plaguing the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Opposition leaders gathered at the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Monday, July 23, and slammed President Rodrigo Duterte’s 3rd State of the Nation Address (SONA) as “defeatist and empty.”

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, speaking before the Tindig Pilipinas movers after the SONA, pointed out: “Ang nakita ko rito ay isang presidente na sumuko – sumuko na dahil hindi kayang solusyonan ang mga problema ng bayan. Sa lalim ng problema ng ating bansa ngayon, ni isang solusyon ay wala siyang sinabi.”

(What I saw was a President who has given up – he has given up because he does not know how to solve the problems of the country. Not one solution was given to the deep problems of our country.)

Trillanes said the President’s SONA failed to present any real solutions to soaring inflation, asserting the country’s sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea, and the lack of arrests of drug lords in the government’s campaign against illegal drugs.

“Itong presidente natin ngayon, nakita natin ay naghina na, siya ay bumitaw na at pinabayaan ang ating bansa dahil hindi niya kaya talaga ito,” Trillanes said. (We see our President is now weakening and losing his hold over the country because he cannot handle it.)

‘Nothing new’

Former peace process adviser Ging Deles, a member of Tindig Pilipinas, said Duterte’s SONA was empty and showed nothing new as it remained a reiteration of “failed policies” his administration has “doubled down” on.

“He has doubled down of failed policies that have caused more than 20,000 deaths, runaway inflation, runaway corruption, increased shabu smuggling, and the takeover of the country’s resources by the Chinese,” she said. 

The only new promise, Deles said, was his wish for no extension to his presidency, which she said “like everything else, will probably no longer be kept after 3 to 6 months.”

No understanding

Meanwhile, lawyer Barry Gutierrez criticized President Duterte’s lack of understanding of human rights, which he said was essential to protecting human lives.

“Kanina si Pangulong Duterte sinikap pang magbigay ng pagkakaiba sa ‘yung sinabi niya hindi siya for human rights, siya daw ay for human lives. Unang una, mali na iyon, dahli ang human rights, ang pangunahing bagay nito ay depensahan at pagbutihin ang buhay ng tao,” Gutierrez said as he recalled former Sentor Jose Diokno’s defense of human rights.

(President Duterte a while ago attempted to differentiate when he said he was not for human rights but for human lives. First of all, this is already wrong, because the first thing in human rights is defending and improving the lives of people.)

Gutierrez also agreed Duterte’s SONA was defeatist as the manner of delivery and the substance of his speech showed he adjusted it because he got affected by the backlash over his remarks.

“The fact he just read it without passion at all, without his usual flair and bravado also means the criticism has gotten to him. The backlash affected his style,” he told Rappler in the sidelines of the event.

Deles added: “Perhaps his sudden-found decency comes from his awareness of survey results showing that the people are beginning to realize the emperor has no clothes. In fact, the emperor cannot be trusted.”

United People’s SONA

In another gathering along Commonwealth Avenue, leading to the Batasan, prominent figures also joined the chorus of protest. 

The President in his SONA spoke of charter change and his administration’s push for federalism, which he believed would address poverty in the country.  

But former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno told the United People’s SONA that federalism is not the solution to the country’s woes. 

“Ang draft Federal Constitution ay hindi dokumento ng pag-asa at pagpapahalaga sa kapwa, kundi dokumento ng desperasyon at kawalahang halaga sa mga maliliit. Galing ito sa paniwalang alipin tayo ng ating kasaysayan; na dahil di-pantay-pantay ang pagunlad ng mga rehyon ay magkanya-kanya na lamang tayo,” she said.  

(The draft Federal Constitution is not a document of hope and valuing our fellowmen, but a document of desperation and disregard for the lowly. This comes from the slave culture in our history, that since the progress of regions are not the same, then it will be to each his own.) 

Jailed Senator Leila de Lima, in a statement, said Duterte must address issues Filipinos continue to face, such as the failure to end contractualization, ensure job security, and raise wages. 

“Bago natin pag-usapan ang pederalismo o pagpapalit sa ating Saligang Batas, pag-usapan muna natin ang solusyon sa lumalalang trapiko, tumataas na presyo ng bigas, gasolina, pamasahe, at iba pang mga bilihin. Pag-usapan muna natin ang pagbibigay ng trabaho, seguridad sa hanapbuhay, at pagtaas ng suweldo na tutugon sa kumakalam na sikmura ng mga Pilipino,” she said. 

(Before we talk about federalism or changing our Constitution, let’s talk frist about the solution to the worsening traffic, rising prices of rice, gasoline, fare, and other commodities. Let’s talk first about creating jobs, securing sources of income, and giving higher salaries.)

De Lima added, Namumulat na ang marami nating kababayan. Punong-puno at sawang-sawa na tayo sa mga kasinungalingan at kawalanghiyaan ni Duterte.” (Our countrymen are opening their eyes. We’re fed up with Duterte’s lies and shamelessness.) – Rappler.com

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Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs and is the lead reporter on the coronavirus pandemic. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.