Roxas reminds Duterte, Poe: A president's word becomes policy
MANILA, Philippines – Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Manuel Roxas on Friday, April 15, chided his rivals for supposedly misunderstanding the role of the president and left them with a cheeky reminder: the presidency is a serious matter.
“[Ang] pagiging pangulo ay tagapagtaguyod, tagabantay ng interes ng buong sambayanang Pilipino. Hindi po ito nakukuha sa medya-medya, sa patutsada, at higit lalo, sa hindi paghandang mga salita. Dahil ang salita po ng pangulo, ang salita po ng commander-in-chief, automatic policy po ‘yan. Pinag-iisipan po ‘yan, hindi ‘yan basta-bastang murang ibinabato lamang just for effect dahil policy, nagiging policy po ‘yan bilang pangulo,” Roxas said in a press conference on the sidelines of a meeting with farmers and fisherfolk in Pasay City.
(Being president means you push for, you guard the interests of the entire Filipino nation. You don’t do this through half-baked statements, one-liners, and especially through prepared statements. Because a president’s word, as commander-in-chief, is policy. You think about it and you don’t just spew things out for effect because this becomes the policy of the president.)
Roxas was referring to Senator Grace Poe’s latest statements on the supposed shortcomings of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) in its anti-crime efforts.
The LP candidate said he was “dismayed” because Poe did not bother to check the facts first. Had she done so, said Roxas, she would have known that the PNP and DILG were able to cut down crime incidents in Metro Manila while nabbing over 716 "most wanted" persons.
Prior to announcing his candidacy, Roxas was DILG secretary, which means he had administrative control and operational supervision of the PNP. Under his term, the PNP launched “Oplan Lambat Sibat”, a program that worked to prevent crime through the use of reliable data.
“‘Yan po ang katotohanan. Hindi po ito nadadaan sa mga press release lamang na wala naman pong laman, o sa mga medya-medyang statement na konti dito, konti doon,” he added.
(That’s the truth. You can’t change it through press releases that bear no data or half-baked statements here and there.)
Duterte as commander-in-chief?
The LP presidential candidate also continued to criticize friend-turned-foe Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. This time, it was about his changing statements on the country's dispute with China over the West Philippine Sea.
“In a span of 48 hours, nakita natin, tatlong beses bumaliktad ang kanyang posisyon tungkol sa isyu ng West Philippine Sea (he changed his position on the West Philippine Sea thrice),” said Roxas.
Duterte once said he would challenge China himself, then said he would resort to bilateral talks. Later on, Duterte said he supports the case that the country filed before an international court.
Arbitration is the current administration’s chosen path. A decision from the international court hearing the case is expected in April or May this year.
But on April 15, Duterte said that if the case takes too long to resolve, the country should go ahead and “make deals.” The Davao mayor said this could be done through bilateral talks or – dropping the discussion outright.
“Napakahalaga po na malaman mo, kung hindi pa klaro sa ‘yo: Ang pagiging pangulo ay commander-in-chief ng ating armed forces. Kung ano ang utos, kung ano ang salita ng commander-in-chief, ay sinusunod ng mga sundalo, kahit pa mapanganib ito sa kanilang kaligtasan. Napakahalaga po na maunawaan po ninyo na bilang commander-in-chief, dapat mahinahon po tayo. Hindi po ito isang pataasan lang o pasindakan lang ng pananalita. May mga buhay na nakataya dito,” said Roxas.
(It’s important Mayor Duterte knows, in case it isn’t clear to him: being president means you’re commander-in-chief of our Armed Forces. Whatever you say, whatever the commander-in-chief says, soldiers follow even if it’s dangerous. So it’s important that you understand that as commander-in-chief, you should think things through. You can’t do this through strong statements alone. Lives are at stake here.)
Roxas’ stand on the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) is the same as that of the current administration. – Rappler.com
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