MANILA

Palace shrugs off De Lima's 'nonsense' rants vs Duterte

MALACAÑANG on Tuesday, February 5, brushed aside the "nonsense" rants of detained Senator Leila de Lima against President Rodrigo Duterte for supposed failure of his administration to curb terror acts in war-torn Mindanao.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo claimed De Lima merely wants to get public attention since the opposition senator has become an "irrelevant" public figure.

"The detained Senator Leila de Lima is talking nonsense. Her confinement has dulled her senses," the Palace official said.

"Having lost a venue in the halls of Congress for her attacks on the President, and having become an irrelevant political entity, she tries to re-enter the public’s consciousness by dishing out reckless and offensive rants against the President reducing herself into a pathetic figure and a pitiful caricature," he added.

Panelo issued a statement after De Lima had alluded that there might be a "cover-up and whitewash" in the real motives for bombing a Cathedral church in Jolo, Sulu and a mosque in Zamboanga City.

On Monday, February 4, De Lima questioned the intelligence community's capability to counter terrorism, following the recent blasts in Jolo, Sulu and Zamboanga.

She then called for an independent investigation on the bombing incidents, saying the "truth" behind the recent explosions must come out.

"If, indeed, it was the terrorists who did the bombings, it also proves one thing: That the gangster-like antics of Duterte cannot protect the people against terrorists and neither can he scare them away to curb their agenda," she said.

"The first was Marawi, now Jolo and Zamboanga. His threats are nothing but empty words to real terrorists. To put it bluntly, he is mighty in words, but inept in action," De Lima added.

Panelo, however, said De Lima should realize that Mindanao would have been in chaos "with bombings and killings a daily occurrence," had Duterte not declared martial rule in the besieged region.

He added there was no reason for the "insensitive" senator to blame the intelligence team and the government troops for not being able to detect the terrorists, noting that the perpetrators had "disguised themselves as churchgoers."

"She claims that the President cannot protect the people from the terrorists with his threatening words, forgetting that this is the same President who crushed the dreaded and ruthless ISIS and their local counterparts in the Marawi siege," the Palace official said.

"This is also the same President who has declared a war on drugs, criminality and corruption and gained headway in all those fronts by his swift action and enforcement of the law, without fear or favour," he added.

Panelo said De Lima should have instead given "words of support" to the ground forces in Mindanao and consoled with the families of those who died in the bombing incidents.

"She opted to be indifferent if not callous to the military men who were killed in the line of duty as well as to the bravery of our soldiers who are ferociously hunting the terrorists and risking their lives in pursuing the barbaric criminals to bring them to justice," he said.

"She is better off indulging herself in meditation and prayers so the goodness in her heart comes out in full bloom instead of seeing only the dark side in her dungeon," Panelo added. (SunStar Philippines)


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