MANILA, Philippines – Describing President Rodrigo Duterte as an “old man at the helm of government but with an EQ (emotional quotient) of a six-year-old, detained Sen. Leila de Lima again assailed the chief executive following the threats he issued against the country’s two major news organizations.
“This is an administration run on one man’s personal vindictiveness, its policies purely founded on his desire to avenge what he considers as personal affronts against him,” De Lima said in an April 30 dispatch from Camp Crame.
Last week, Duterte again pounced on the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) and ABS-CBN, whom he claimed were being controlled by oligarchs and were out to crucify him and his administration.
He warned that he would soon take steps to recover a government property in Makati that was allegedly leased through a sweetheart deal to a firm controlled by the Prieto and Rufino families, owners of PDI.
Duterte, meanwhile, reiterated his complaint that ABS-CBN allegedly did not air a political ad that was already paid for his 2016 presidential campaign and said that he would block the renewal of the franchise of the Lopez-controlled media firm.
De Lima said Duterte’s threats against PDI ABS-CBN were allegedly tantamount to the President’s “disregard” of the “constitutional principles of press freedom and democratic governance by a professional civil service corps just to satisfy his need for vengeance.”
Regarding Duterte’s allegation against ABS-CBN’s failure his already paid campaign ad, De Lima said the President need not bring “the full force of government to bear on the supposed swindler” as the accusation was a simple case of estafa that could be “simply” filed in court.
The senator likened Duterte’s alleged “childish vindictiveness” against PDI and ABS-CBN to what the chief executive did to her after she ordered the investigation into the killings in Davao City by the vigilante group Davao Death Squad (DDS).
“This is classic Duterte, where the personal becomes public policy. I am one of the very first victims of this President with the EQ of a 6-year-old, when just because of my investigation on the DDS in 2009, a personal affront he never forgot, Duterte now as President ordered the whole government machinery to orchestrate the narrative that I am the country’s ‘number one drug lord’. I am now in prison because of this childish vindictiveness,” De Lima said.
“So after the attacks on opposition figures like me, now comes the whole assault on press freedom, using the same full complement of the State’s coercive power to bear on the unfortunate media establishments that he deemed to have stepped on his toes,” the senator said.
“Where the leader of government uses public resources to avenge himself for personal slights, that is the very characteristic of a tyrant and a tyranny. Beyond fascism, this is boundless monarchical entitlement drawn from the dark ages of kings of old, of invoking the divine power of life and death over whosoever crosses the king and incurs his personal ire,” she said.
“’Off with his head,’ says the Red Queen of Alice’s Wonderland. This is our own Wonderland now, and Duterte is our Red King,” De Lima added.