They are fools and are like the terrorist group ISIS.
This was how President Rodrigo Duterte described the Magdalo Party in a scathing speech he delivered before the Filipino community in Papua New Guinea.
“Be careful with Magdalo. Be careful of ‘yang partidong Magdalo. Ito ‘yung mga rebeldeng sundalo na nagkalat diyan sa Makati pati sa Peninsula Hotel. And they destroyed everything, parang ISIS ang mga buang.”
“Its members know nothing but kill, pick a fight, and shame people, “the President said.
“Wala silang alam kung ‘di to kill, maghahamon, magbastos. Be careful again with military lalo na ‘yang mga rebelde tapos na-rehab because they were extended pardon by Aquino (former President Benigno III], ayon.”
According to the President, when the party assumed power, they began to feel they are invincible.
Magdalo has for its members Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and Rep. Gary Alejano, who is running for a Senate seat in 2019.
Alejano, meanwhile, hit back at the president and said that the Magdalo party is not a terrorist group.
“The Magdalo are not terrorists. It is extremely flippant and utterly disrespectful for the President to liken us to terrorists,” Alejano said in a statement.
“Being former soldiers, we have risked our lives on many occasion to fight terrorists and protect our country from enemies of the state,” Alejano, a staunch critic of the Duterte administration, added.
Alejano also cried foul over what he described as the President’s insult and disrespect to the Magdalo group—which has been critical to the President and his administration.
He said Magdalo has been an advocate of anti-corruption.
“When we were assigned in different parts of the country, we saw first-hand the poverty and lack of government services for Filipinos. Worse, we saw the corrupt activities of government and military officials while the people and soldiers on the ground were struggling. This led us to stage the Oakwood and Manila Peninsula protests to air our grievances and expose the widespread corruption in government,” Alejano said.
“It was not our intention to sow fear or terror or to shoot it out with the military and police. In both the Oakwood and Manila Peninsula incidents, we did not fire a single shot nor harmed anyone,” Alejano said.
He said the President’s attacks against the Magdalo group “are part of intimidating and silencing the opposition which only highlights his dictatorial tendencies.”
“Instead of answering the policy issues of subservience to China and the growing poverty of our people, the Duterte administration chooses to divert the attention of the people to baseless accusations and drama-filled rhetoric,” Alejano said.
He pointed out that his group criticizes the government not just for the heck of it.
“Opposition is not destabilization. Contrary to what the President believes in, opposition is necessary for a democracy. Dissent should be viewed as points of improvement in governance to be able to forward more sound policies and improve government services,” Alejano said.