Chel Diokno fires back at Sara Duterte: ‘Do not insult voters’

Mara Cepeda

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Chel Diokno fires back at Sara Duterte: ‘Do not insult voters’

Antonio Miguel R. Arugay

'Ganyan na ba kaliit ang pagtingin natin sa mga Pilipino para sabihing ayos lang ang magsinungaling?' opposition senatorial bet Chel Diokno asks President Rodrigo Duterte's daughter

MANILA, Philippines – Human rights lawyer turned senatorial bet Chel Diokno did not mince words against Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, slamming her for justifying dishonest candidates. 

“Sabi ni Sara Duterte, lahat daw ng kandidato sa eleksyong ito ay nagsisinungaling, kaya hindi daw dapat isyu ang pagsasabi ng totoo. Heto na naman tayo, panay palusot na lang ang naririnig natin sa mga manok ng administrasyon,” said Diokno on Wednesday evening, March 6.

(Sara Duterte said all candidates in the elections are liars, that’s why honesty should not be an issue. Here we go again, all we hear from the administration’s bets are nothing but excuses.)

The senatorial candidate from the Otso Diretso ticket then asked Duterte: “Ganyan na ba kaliit ang pagtingin natin sa mga Pilipino para sabihing ayos lang ang magsinungaling? ‘Wag natin insultuhin ‘yung ating mga botante.”

(Do you think so little of Filipinos that you’re able to say lying is okay? Do not insult our voters.) 

The feisty presidential daughter said on Wednesday that the false claims of Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos about her academic degrees should not be an issue, since “everyone lies anyway.” 

Otso Diretso candidates have been criticizing Marcos for lying about graduating with honors from the University of the Philippines College of Law and obtaining a degree from Princeton University.

Marcos is among the senatorial bets being endorsed by Duterte’s Hugpong ng Pagbabago regional party.

In defending Marcos, Duterte earlier said the only qualification for being a senator is the ability to read and write. But the Davao City mayor drew flak from online users, who said the issue is not Marcos’ lack of a degree, but the fact that she lied about earning them.

For Diokno, the standards should be raised for people who want to be elected into office.

“Malakas pa rin ang pananampalataya ko na matino at matapat na kandidato ang gusto ng Pilipino. Naniniwala pa rin ako na ang hinahanap nilang mga pinuno ay ‘yung nagsasabi ng totoo,” Diokno said.

(I still have faith that Filipinos want decent and honest candidates. I still believe they are looking for leaders who tell the truth.) 

“Sabi nga nila, ang taong nagsisinungaling sa maliit na bagay, lalong hindi mapagkakatiwalaan sa mas malaki at mas importanteng mga bagay,” he added. 

(As they say, a person who lies about the small things cannot be trusted even more with the bigger and more important things.) –

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at or tweet @maracepeda.