Press Release
June 28, 2018

Protect our Children from the Madman Duterte - Sen. Leila M. de Lima's Statement on the arbitrary arrest of minors loitering on the streets

Once again, in his push to arrest minors loitering on the streets, Duterte challenged critics of this policy that if they were intelligent enough, they should have first become President.

This oft-repeated statement of Duterte bears the mark of arrogance from which flows all authoritarian policies of his government. It implies infallibility, something that even the Pope is no longer wont to invoke, when in the first place, Duterte is the classic example of how one can be President without being exactly intelligent. He is exhibit "A".

As a supposed bright lawyer, he misunderstands the principle of parens patriae, taking it to mean literally as the President being the father of the nation. He uses the principle to violate the inviolable constitutional right against arbitrary arrests which, together with free speech, serves as the pillar of our freedoms. He uses the principle of police power to legally justify these arbitrary arrests, saying the arrests need no legislation because the exercise of the state's police power needs no legislation, when every law school student knows that the police power of the state is precisely exercised by Congress through legislation.

Duterte is not even capable of comprehending basic principles of law, and yet he arrogantly boasts that he is intelligent enough to be President more than his critics, when in fact he is nothing but an ignorant demagogue suffering from a narcissistic complex of gargantuan proportions. He is, in short, a madman.

For only a madman can conceive of such abominable policies that target the most vulnerable members of our families, our children. He equates their being in public spaces with the intention to commit a crime, which is like saying occupying public office is tantamount to being corrupt. If this is his logic, then he should start arresting all public officials on sight to combat corruption. Duterte is even incapable of passing basic tests in logic, but he is still President. By his own standards, he himself should not be occupying the highest office of the land.

This is not only a man without the necessary mental competence to be President, this is also a man without the necessary compassion and rational thought to be human. He now directly attacks our children, sees them as criminals, and orders the police to arrest them in the streets on sight, in blatant violation of all freedoms that we hold inviolable under the Constitution.

The freedom from arbitrary arrests is an inalienable human right. It is the inalienable right of our children. No State, other than a fascist one, can casually declare minors illegal for simply going out of their homes and occupying public space. This, therefore, is what we are fast becoming, a fascist state under an arrogantly ignorant lawyer who thinks of himself as the brightest simply because he happens to be President.

Duterte's latest attack on minors and other children means that we cannot not only entrust him with their rights and well-being, we also cannot trust him as a leader still capable of rational behavior.

We must protect our children from this madman.

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