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De Lima slams crackdown on Duterte's online critics: 'Bawal ang balat-sibuyas sa gobyerno'


Detained Senator Leila De Lima condemned Monday the recent arrests of netizens who made social media posts against President Rodrigo Duterte as she pushed for equal protection and application of the law.

"I find it very disturbing that our law enforcement agencies – PNP, NBI, and even PSG – are training their guns on online Duterte critics. Kahit walang warrant, kahit walang asunto, arestado," De Lima said in a statement.

"Hindi ito ang tamang panahon – at walang tamang panahon – na maging ganito kababaw at balat-sibuyas ang mga nanunungkulan sa gobyerno," she added.

Last week, a 41-year-old salesman in Agusan del Norte was arrested by police for calling Duterte "buang" in a social media post.

A public school teacher and a construction worker were also nabbed separately for offering bounties to anyone who could kill the Chief Executive.

The detained senator described the arrests as "double standard at its worst."

"Ang lagay ba kapag si Duterte ang nagbanta, namahiya, nagmura, nagpapatay, nagpakulong sa isang inosente, tatahimik na lang tayo? Kapag kaalyado nila ang lumabag, maawa na lang tayo? Pero kapag kritiko at ordinaryong Pilipino, parusa at kulong agad?" De Lima asked.

"Buti pa sa Taiwan, pinoprotektahan ang ating kababayan mula sa mismong gobyerno natin. Dito, binubusalan ang bibig ng dumadaing at naghahangad ng magandang serbisyo," she added.

The senator was referring to the overseas Filipino worker who has been defended by the Taiwanese government from the Philippine Department of Labor and Employment's threat of deportation over her social media posts critical of Duterte and his administration's response to COVID-19.

De Lima implored the public not to be intimidated in expressing their dissent and to continue exercising their freedom of expression.

"Let them (law enforcers) arrest multitudes, if they can, and be exposed as enablers of fascism and tyranny," she said.

"Kailangan natin ng mahusay at maaasahang liderato. Hindi ‘yung akala mo kung sinong maton kung umasta pero balat-sibuyas naman kapag pinuna," she added.

De Lima, a staunch Duterte critic, has been detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame since 2017 for alleged involvement in the proliferation of illegal drugs inside the New Bilibid Prisons.

The senator has repeatedly denied the allegations saying  the charges filed against her were fabricated.—AOL, GMA News
 

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