POLITICAL leaders allied with and opposed to President Rodrigo R. Duterte also marked his first year in office with their respective statements on Friday.
Former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in her statement said, “President Rodrigo Duterte has shown awesome leadership and resolve in the many programs that he promised to do during his presidency. In his first year, he managed to institute various bold reforms against illegal drugs and corruption.
She added: “His Build, Build, Build initiative is commendable and is a step in the right direction towards achieving inclusive growth. But more than his accomplishments in his work as president, President Duterte has achieved to inspire and unite the Filipino people towards his goal of effecting real change for the country.”
Another known supporter of Mr. Duterte, former senator Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. in his statement said Mr. Duterte has shown “quality of leadership” — the “one singular quality that is very clear and the reason why he is very popular.”
Mr. Marcos also said: “He has shown that leadership both in our local and foreign policies. For example, he has redirected our foreign policy and that is the reason why we have regained once again a crucial and important position in the international community to the benefit of the Philippines. It is the same with various domestic policies.”
“Only a good leader can do that and he managed to do just that,” added the former senator, who has a pending electoral protest against Vice-President Maria Leonor G. Robredo of the Liberal Party.
On the other hand, Senator Leila M. de Lima of the opposition Liberal Party (LP), for her part, recalled Mr. Duterte’s election promise to solve the drug problem in “three to six months.”
“Makalipas ang isang taon, nasaan na tayo (Where are we after one year)?” said the senator and critic of Mr. Duterte. Ms. de Lima is currently detained on what her supporters say are fabricated drug charges.
She added: “Nagresulta lang ang inyong “War on Drugs” sa pagpatay at patuloy na pagpatay ng libu-libong Pilipino—karamihan ay mga maralitang walang kalaban-laban, kabilang ang mga inosenteng bata.” (Your ‘War on Drugs’ led to the continued killing of thousands of Filipinos — many of them poor and defenseless, including innocent children.)
“May hangganan ang lahat, Ginoong Pangulo.” (There is an end to everything, Mr. President.)
For her part, Akbayan Senator and LP ally Ana Theresia Hontiveros-Baraquel said in part: “The first year of the Duterte government is a dangerous year to be a woman. It is marked by a colossal human rights crisis. It is the year of misogyny and extrajudicial killings. It is a year of national grieving.”
She added that Mr. Duterte’s first year in office should be a “day of remembrance” for the victims of extrajudicial killings.