Senator Francis ‘Kiko’ Pangilinan on Sunday lauded the apology of President Rodrigo Duterte for the ‘harsh words’ he uttered to Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno amid the intensified anti-illegal drug campaign of the government.
“We welcome President Duterte’s public apology for his “harsh words” meant for Chief Justice Sereno. It shows that he is willing to admit when he is wrong and this is laudable,” Pangilinan said in a press statement.
While speaking before the government troops in Camp Evangelista in Cagayan de Oro last Aug. 9, President Duterte hit back at Sereno for interfering in his campaign against illegal drugs.
The President even threatened Sereno that he may order the executive department officials to honor the Supreme Court.
“So, ikaw ang winawarningan ko, hindi ako. Do not create a crisis because I will order everbody in the executive department not to honor you,” Duterte said.
President Duterte also said that he inherited the illegal drug problem from the previous administration of President Benigno Aquino III who appointed Sereno as Chief Justice in 2012 with a term to end until her mandatory retirement age.
“Please, I am not a fool. If this continues, go on, stop me. Or would you rather I declare martial law?,” the President said.
The President was reacting to Sereno’s statement, cautioning the judges included in Duterte’s drug list not to surrender to authorities without arrest warrant.
Sereno refused to engage in a word war and last Thursday, President Duterte apologized to the Chief Justice for his harsh words.
Pangilinan appealed to the President to exercise greater restraining and “ to choose his words carefully when he speaks out on various matters now that he is President of the entire nation.”
“He is no longer just the mayor of Davao City. As President of our nation, he represents all 100 plus million Filipinos both here and abroad, including myself, my wife, and my children,” Pangilinan, a political ally of former President Aquino, said.
“Thus every time he speaks in public, depending on what he says and how he says it, all of us Filipinos can be affected either positively or negatively,” he added.