On the eve of President Rodrigo Duterte's third State of the Nation Address, Senator Risa Hontiveros issued a statement in which she argued that the president was less a "father of the nation" who loving cared for Filipinos, but more the "abusive father" who "repeatedly maltreats, torments, and injures his wife, and children."
"What kind of father directed the killing of thousands of his children and likened it to the Holocaust with pride? What kind of father responds to social ills with the iron hand of punishment, who, instead of providing job opportunities and easier access to education to the nation's 'tambays,' would rather round them up by the thousands, imprison them in congested jails and even allow their deaths? What kind of father is this president who is strong only against the weak, but is powerless to stop the left and right assassinations of local government officials and even keep our priests safe?" Hontiveros asked in her Sunday statement.
The senator went on to question the president's policy on the West Philippine Sea. "What kind of a 'father of the nation' is President Duterte, when he failed to defend the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of China's unmasked bullying and militarization in the West Philippine Sea?
"Given his subservience, is it more apt to call him the 'foster son of China?'"
The senator went on to suggest that Duterte had left a trail of broken promises, not only because of his failure to fulfill a campaign promise to end contractualization, but also because he failed to distribute the Coco Levy Fund.
"The wage-earners can't make ends meet with their meager salaries. Inflation is on a 5-year high made worse by the TRAIN law. Economic growth is below government's own target and expectations. The peso is weakening. The government's ambitious infrastructure program fails to take off and the stock market is in the bear category," Hontiveros pointed out.
In contrast, the senator argued further, Duterte's "cronies" were rewarded despite their incompetence, and despite corrupt government deals and intemperate spending.
"From the immigration officials' extortion activities to the Department of Tourism's P60 Million scandal, to the Solicitor General's sweetheart deals with different government agencies, to the PCOO's mind-boggling spending, the so-called father of the nation would prioritize his incompetent and corrupt officials over the poor."
And, to add insult to injury, Hontiveros said that the president would likely carry on as usual as if nothing was wrong, and expect gratitude and obedience from the citizenry.
"This toxic and abusive relationship must end," said Hontiveros. "Unrest is brewing, the resistance is growing and increasingly, people are coming together to oppose President Duterte's tyranny.
"President Duterte can turn a blind eye to the increasing suffering of the people only until we all decide that we have had enough."
Hontiveros, Duterte less a father of the nation, more the abusive dad
4/ 5Oleh BNP Correspondent