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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Opposition balks at Sara as leader

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De Lima, Lagman voice objections

Vice President Sara Duterte as opposition leader? Not so fast, said several groups representing the political opposition in the country.

Liberal Party president and Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said Duterte’s resignation from the Marcos Cabinet does not automatically make her an opposition leader.

“Vice President Sara Duterte may assume the leadership of the partisan opposition to the Marcos Jr. administration, but the Liberal Party remains the ideological and conscientious opposition to both the current administration and Duterte’s breakaway power bloc,” the lawmaker said.

“The real opposition has a foundation of accountability, transparency, and concern for the citizens, which cannot be seen in Vice President Sara’s track record,” added former Senator Leila de Lima on X.

“The opposition puts the people first, and not increasing and maintaining power. Not defending wanted religious leaders or slaying thousands of Filipinos. And especially not playing blind to the bullying of fisherfolk by foreigners trying to steal our territories,” De Lima said.

Makabayan bloc lawmakers France Castro (ACT Teachers), Arlene Brosas (Gabriela), and Raoul Manuel (Kabataan) likewise questioned is pro-human rights and against corruption.

“Our position on that has been clear, she’s not a true opposition,” Brosas said.

She said Duterte is hounded by corruption issues over the multi-million peso confidential funds her office spent in 11 days in 2022.

Brosas also accused the Vice President of being a red-tagger.

Militant groups agreed.

The activist youth group Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan (SPARK) said Duterte’s resignation was self-serving as it was intended for tbe upcoming 2025 midterms elections.

“While we welcome Sara stepping down from the Cabinet… we should not count her out from the game of musical chairs traditional politicians are about to play in next year’s elections,” said John Lazaro, SPARK National Coordinator.

“Expect Sara and her allies to be openly positioning themselves in opposition to Marcos, rebranding their worn out rhetoric and recycling the same old personalities,” he added.

Transport group PISTON said Duterte’s decision to quit as Education Secretary and vice-chairperson of the NTF-ELCAC was a reflection of “an ongoing power struggle leading up to the 2025 mid-term elections and an attempt to cement their positions for the subsequent presidential elections.”

“The Dutertes try to pose as opposition figures, but they are no different from the Marcoses….The transportation sector will never forget how Rodrigo Duterte cursed and threatened to ‘crush’ protesting drivers and operators during the anti-phaseout strikes in 2017 and 2018,” PISTON said in a statement.

Lawyer Harry Roque on Wednesday said he sees the Vice President being the new opposition leader following her breakaway from the Marcos Cabinet.

At the House, Manila Rep. Joel Chua said it is now time to undo the disaster Duterte did at the Department of Education.

He also accused the Vice President of “living a lie” and faking a “facade of unity” with Mr. Marcos.

“It is now time to unravel the havoc she has caused in DepEd. It is time to undo the damage she has inflicted upon teachers, schools, and students,” he said.

“It is time to unmask the appointments made in DepEd in aid of the 2028 (presidential) elections,” Chua added.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, for his part, called for the sustained implementation of crucial education reforms to address the sector’s pressing challenges following Duterte’s resignation.

Gatchalian, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, underscored the importance of a smooth transition at DepEd.

Senator Christopher Lawrence Go said he will always stand by the Vice President, “from then, until now, and for all the challenges that are yet to come.”

“As we always say, there is always a time for everything. This is the time to prioritize the welfare of our fellow countrymen even more,” Go said.

Editor’s Note: This is an updated article. Originally posted with the headline “Lagman balks at the idea that VP Duterte is new opposition leader.”

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