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Destructive politics should end — Palace

Elmer N. Manuel

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The Palace again slapped down yesterday opponents of President Rodrigo Duterte for engaging in “destructive politicking” with presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo even challenging them to a debate on government programs.

Panelo cited President Duterte’s high approval ratings in the recent Pulse Asia survey, which he said showed the “continuous assaults against the President and his administration are falling flat on their faces.”

“Our people are fed up with the destructive politicking dished out by the opposition and President Duterte’s critics and detractors,” he said, adding that Pinoys “want to maintain the visible and continuing genuine change, as well as the tangible results they are witnessing and experiencing under the current leadership of the President.”

Nonetheless, he urged the opposition to engage them in a friendly and healthy debate.
“For a change and for the good of the nation, we urge the political opposition to engage the administration in a healthy debate of programs and platforms productive and beneficial to the Filipino people,” Panelo said.

Paras raps irk Trillanes

The Palace spokesman also tagged Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV for making “a distorted if not a fallacious argumentation.”

“When he described President Duterte as crazy, he must have been referring to himself and correctly so,” he stressed.

SENATOR Antonio Trillanes.

He described the recent rants of Trillanes as a clashing “sentiment” against the 81 percent of Filipinos approving the President’s performance and the 76 percent trusting him as the country’s Chief Executive.

“He (Trillanes) pompously claims he is not afraid of facing the criminal suits against him, but his partisan vociferous rantings show that he is in mortal fear of going back to jail,” Panelo said. “With the election period for the May midterm polls in the horizon, we expect the political noise to escalate further. The handwriting on the wall as graphically shown by the survey figures is glaring.”

Trillanes issued his new comments after being served with another legal complaint, this time for grave threats filed by Labor Undersecretary Jacinto Paras. The spokesman called the senator a “loose cannon” for his baseless attacks against the President.

Peace pipe possible

Despite his continued verbal attacks against the Catholic Church and its teachings, a dialogue between Mr. Duterte and the clergy is still possible, he explained.

He said the Chief Executive is not closing his doors on the possibility of smoking the peace pipe with Church leaders, especially those who have been very vocal in criticizing his administration.

Presidential Spokesman and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo. (RTVM)

“Of course, if they are asking for it, there’s no problem with that,” the official expressed during a news conference on Monday.

Panelo added that the President was only acting on “self-defense” in his tirades against the prelates.

“Remember, he (Mr. Duterte) said ‘You are using pulpit to attack me. So, I’ll be using my own office to respond,’” he stated.

With Kristina Maralit

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