MANILA, Philippines – No one but President Rodrigo Duterte should be blamed for the Philippines’ bad image in the international community.
This was Senator Leila de Lima's statement in her privilege speech on Tuesday, September 20, as she cried foul anew over Senator Alan Peter Cayetano’s allegations that she is “misleading” international media and creating a negative image of the Philippines abroad. (READ: Who's destroying PH image? Cayetano says this 'DDS')
“And may I add, the President has already proven that he is more than capable of single-handedly giving a bad image of this country to the whole world in the short span of 3 months in office. He does not need any help from anybody on that aspect, least of all from me,” De Lima said in her privilege speech.
De Lima reiterated that the extrajudicial killings were the problem, and not herself.
“Ang pagpatay ng mahigit 30 katao araw-araw ay pagpatay pa rin sa mata ng mundo, nandiyan man si Leila De Lima o wala,” she said.
(The killing of more than 30 people every day is still a killing in the eyes of the world, whether or not Leila de Lima is there.)
Don’t twist the story
De Lima said Duterte’s allies should not twist the story. It is clear, she said, who was at fault.
“Kaya huwag po ninyong baligtarin ang mundo, na ako ang nagbibigay ng masamang imahe sa Pilipinas dahil hindi ako ang nagmura kay Obama at Ban Ki Moon,” De Lima said.
(So please don't turn the world around, that I am the one giving the Philippines a bad image, because I was not the one who cursed Obama and Ban Ki Moon.)
She urged the President’s allies to look clearly ahead of them and see who the real culprit is.
The President, she said, should be called out by his circle for his “uncontrollable mouth.”
“Minsan ay tanggalin naman ninyo ang mga tapaloda ng kabayo sa inyong mga mata at medyo punahin naman ninyo kahit konti ang walang kontrol na bunganga ng inyong Pangulong pinagtatanggol,” she said.
(You better remove the horses' blinders on your eyes and criticize, even for a bit, the uncontrollable mouth of your protected President.)
Even with her ouster as Senate justice committee chairperson, De Lima said Cayetano – one of Duterte’s staunchest allies in the Senate – could not expect the improvement of the country’s international image in an instant.
If Cayetano still would insist on that, he must be “dreaming,” De Lima said. – Rappler.com
Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email firstname.lastname@example.org