President Aquino brands Duterte as ‘dictator’

President Aquino brands Duterte as ‘dictator’

LIGAO CITY — President Benigno C. Aquino III on Thursday took another potshot at Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, PDP-Laban presidential candidate, tagging the latter as a future “dictator” following his controversial statements to close Congress and declare a revolutionary government.

Mr. Aquino’s attack on Duterte came following an interview on national television wherein Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV said he would move to impeach Duterte once he is elected president.

The President said that in a media interview, Duterte was quoted as saying he would close Congress when an impeachment is filed against him by the legislative body.

Mr. Aquino laughed off Duterte’s statement, saying “sarahan ko ang Congress para wala nang mag-impeach sa akin (I will close Congress so no one will impeach me).”

Duterte’s statement is a “a form of dictatorship” as he (Duterte) was quoted to say “all laws would be erased if I win, ako na ang president ako na rin ang Congress,” the President told the thousands of cheering people attending the Thursday afternoon rally here in Ligao City.

He said Duterte, being a lawyer, should study and learn the provisions of the Philippine Constitution about the powers and functions given to the President, Congress and Judiciary.

Though he said the Constitution was learned in schools, “When I assumed the presidency I again read and reviewed our Constitution as it would be my bases in carrying out the laws of the land.”

The Chief Executive urged Duterte to study and review the Constitution.

Mr. Aquino said that under the present Constitution, there is no provision that gives power to the President to abolish Congress and there are legal processes to be followed.

He said under the present Constitution, the government has three branches — the executive, legislative and judiciary — that function separately.

As a practice and under the law, the President can be impeached by Congress when majority of lawmakers find him with probable cause to have committed wrongdoings, while a member of Congress and the Judiciary can be expelled for unlawful acts.

Their respective functions and powers were purposely provided by the Constitution to serve as a “check and balance” mechanism to prevent abuses that might be committed by any branch of government, President Aquino pointed out.

Meanwhile, Camarines Sur’s Leni Robredo, Liberal Party vice presidential bet, appealed to fellow Bicolanos to unite and support her as the recent poll survey rating indicated that there is a big chance for a Bicolano to be the country’s vice president.

As she wooed close to 7,000 supporters clad in yellow shirts from Albay’s 3rd District led by LP stalwart and Albay 3rd District Rep. Fernando Gonzalez, Robredo said the poll rating survey showed that she stood No. 6 or last among the vice presidential aspirants with one percent rating at the start of the campaign but her rank rose to 30 percent as shown by the latest poll survey in April.

“According to the recent survey I am now number one with 30 percent followed by Marcos with 28 percent and fellow Bicolano Chiz Escudero with 18 percent,” she said.

Robredo, however, admitted that her lead of 2 percent against Marcos is not an assurance that she would win as she urged Bicolano voters to support and rally behind her in placing a Bicolano to the second highest post in the land.

She said, “We should get united; huwag tayong matakot sa sinasabing Solid North votes with 2.4 million voters versus the 3.3 million by setting aside personal preferences and with united front for Bicol, we can get 3.3 million voters from Bicol.”

The Camarines Sur congresswoman said the fight now is not for her but for Bicol.

“It is now a dream come true, abot-tanaw na natin ang boses ng Bicol,” she said.

While wooing Albay voters, Aquino presented his administration’s accomplishments under the “Tuwid na Daan” (straight path) with Php21 billion spent for various implemented social and infrastructure projects in Albay alone. PNA/