President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday accused human rights lawyer Chel Diokno of launching a black propaganda against the government, and slammed him for defending a man being investigated for alleged "fake news."
Duterte was referring to Diokno's decision to take on the case of a man being summoned by the National Bureau of Investigation for "publicly post[ing an] article concerning an alleged misuse of government funds.”
In a televised speech late Friday night, Duterte said: "Itong si Chel Diokno sinabi pa niya, 'Sige ako mag-depensa sa inyo.' Alam mo Chel Diokno, kayo ng opposition diyan. Huwag niyo pilitin ang pagkatao niyo... sa gobyerno."
"Kayo nag-sige taga-takbo ng black propaganda kasi malapit na eleksyon. Sabihin ko ngayon sayo Diokno. Kapag iyang tao ang ipalit niyo sa sunod na eleksyon, torpe talaga ang Pilipino. Pranka. Wala na ako. Hindi na ako makialam."
Dutere also poked fun at Diokno's physical appearance, as well as his defeat in the 2019 senatorial elections.
"Itong si Diokno, magsalita para janitor. Saka tumakbo ka ng senador, eh di ka binoto ng tao," said Duterte.
"Alam mo kung bakit di ka nanalo, kasi sa laki ng ngipin mo. Kaya sa ako pa sayo, totoo. Tanugnin mo ang Pilipino, magsalita ka, laki ng ngipin mo," he added.
Diokno earlier posted online a photo of the subpoena issued by the NBI to his client, even as he said ordinary citizens airing their sentiments on the government response to the coronavirus crisis are now being targeted by authorities.
Diokno's client particularly posted on social media allegations that the government bought an airplane worth P2 billion instead of using the money for public health care amid the growing threat of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Diokno said apart from his client's, a dozen other subpoenas had been issued by the NBI in an apparent crackdown on misinformation amid the COVID-19 crisis.
On Saturday, Diokno said Duterte should focus as well on the people's needs while targeting him for defending his clients.
“Mr. President, may mga kliyente akong tinutulungan na tinitiis na ang sakit at gutom, ngunit wala akong sinabihang manggulo o lumabag ng batas,” Diokno said in Facebook post.
“Okay lang na pag-initan n’yo ako, pero tutukan n’yo rin ang pangangailangan ng mga tao,” he said. —MDM/KG, GMA News