Press Release
May 15, 2021

De Lima scores Duterte for trying to fool Filipinos anew with new script about WPS

Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has criticized Mr. Duterte for trying to fool Filipinos again into believing that he will stand against unrelenting Chinese incursion in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) by singing a different tune about the issue.

De Lima, who was part of the Philippine delegation who argued the Philippines' arbitration case against China over the WPS before The Hague during her stint as Justice Secretary, said Duterte is using a new script as a damage control after drawing flak over his remark that his 2016 campaign promise for fishermen in disputed seas was a joke.

"Dahil nga bistadong-bistado na ang kaduwagan, kasinungalingan at panlilinlang nya, kailangan ni Duterte ng bagong script para maging salbabida pangsalba sa sarili at sa mga alipores nyang ibinibida pa rin ang huwad nyang 'tapang at malasakit,'" she said.

"Puro naman ngawngaw at imbentong kuwento. Sa limang taon nya sa puwesto, klaro na sa mga Pilipino yung totoo: #DuterteDuwag," she added.

In a recorded meeting that aired last May 14, Duterte warned China that he would not withdraw Philippine ships from the resource-rich waters, even if China killed him.

"I'd like to put notice sa China. May dalawang barko ako diyan. Sabihin ko sa China ngayon, as I said before, I am not ready to withdraw," he said. "Hindi talaga ako aatras. Patayin mo man ako kung patayin mo ako, dito ako. Dito magtatapos ang ating pagkakaibigan."

Duterte's statement came two days after a Filipino fisherman in Infanta, Pangasinan reportedly took offense at his recent declaration that his 2016 campaign statement of riding a jet ski and challenging Chinese incursions in the WPS was just a "pure joke" and that those who believed it were "stupid."

The lady Senator from Bicol further lamented how Duterte tried to fool the Filipinos repeatedly through his fake promises and endless lies that will benefit no one but him and his lackeys.

"He calls it bravado we call them lies. Si Duterte na ang nagsabi, kung maniwala ka sa kaniya, istupido ka," she said.

"This man who keeps on using his dirty tricks on the Filipinos has zero credibility. If there is one thing that we are sure about, it is the fact that he values kowtowing to China more over protecting our territory," she added.

Last April, De Lima filed Senate Resolution (SR) No. 694 urging the government's Executive branch to exert all legal and diplomatic actions on the Chinese government in asserting Philippine sovereign rights in the WPS.

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