MANILA (Philippines News Agency) – President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday took a jab at human rights lawyer Check Diokno and other members of the opposition for allegedly launching a “black propaganda” against his administration amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic in the country.
Duterte, in a public address aired late Friday night on state-run PTV-4, was irked that his critics still find time to criticize his government despite its relentless efforts to stop the transmission of Covid-19.
“Alam mo, Chel Diokno, kayong mga oposisyon, dilaw, huwag ninyong pilitin ang pagkatao ninyo na mag-sali sa gobyerno. Kayo, nag-sigeng tapon-tapon ng black propaganda (You know, Chel Diokno, members of the opposition or the Yellow, do not force yourselves to be part of the government. You keep on staging black propaganda),” he said.
Duterte issued the statement after Diokno disclosed that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is going after ordinary citizens who are criticizing the government’s Covid-19 response.
Diokno claimed that the NBI summoned ordinary citizens for allegedly violating the law against publication of false news.
Diokno said he took on the case of one of the individuals asked to appear before the NBI due to alleged violation of Article 154 of the Revised Penal Code or the unlawful use of means of publication and unlawful utterances.
He added that the NBI did not say exactly what the accused exactly did wrong.
Duterte turned the tables on Diokno, saying it was the latter who was peddling “fake news.”
He said “lousy lawyers” like Diokno are inciting people to violate the law.
“Si Diokno, siya pa daw mag-abogado. Alam mo, Diokno, sa totoo lang, bilib ako sa tatay mo. ‘Pag nasa korte ‘yon noon… Pero ikaw, nung nakita kita, wala ka talagang sinabi (Diokno said he would be the lawyer of one of those summoned by NBI. You know, Diokno, I frankly admire your father when he’s at court… But when I see you, you are not like him),” Duterte said.
Duterte said it was not the proper time to resort to politicking, stressing that fighting Covid-19 is more important.
“May panahon ng politika. Ito panahon ng krisis, pang-dagdag ka (There is a time for politics. Do not add to the problem now that there is a crisis),” he said.
Duterte and his administration continue to look for ways to arrest the spread of Covid-19.
As of Friday, the Philippines has 3,018 Covid-19 confirmed cases, with 136 fatalities and 52 recoveries. (PNA)