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The country may suffer anew the ills of dictatorship if Filipinos vote for a bully in next month’s presidential elections, President Aquino warned last Thursday.
The President asked voters to wage another “people power” to prevent the rise of a candidate who will trample anew civil liberties and derail the gains of the Daang Matuwid.
Aquino did not mention any name but was obviously referring to presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte, the tough-talking Davao City mayor who has been leading the presidential polls.
“Matatanggap ba nating bumalik tayo sa panahon kung saan puwedeng sagasaan lang ang mga karapatan natin at ng ating pamilya? Ito nga po ang nakaambang trahedya sa ating bansa: Ang inapi ka na nga’t sinamantala noon, at ang pagpapaubaya pa ring maapi na naman at maulit ang mga problemang dala ng diktadurya,” Aquino said during the launch of the Freedom Memorial museum in Quezon City last Thursday.
“Ito pong mga napagtagum-payan natin, puwedeng maglaho, lalo na kung salungat sa Daang Matuwid ang pamamalakad ng susunod sa atin. Ang tanong: Bibigyan niyo ba ng pagkakataong mamuno ang mga taong sisiga-siga o parang kada bukas ng bibig ay mayroong bagong inaaway?” Aquino added.
The President earlier expressed concern about the threats to democracy if Duterte and Senator Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr. would win the top two government posts in the May elections. Aquino, in his visit to Cebu last Wednesday, said he would fight against any abuses in the next administration even at the cost of his life.
Duterte has promised a “bloody” presidency, saying he intends to suppress crime in the first six months of presidency by authorizing a killing spree of criminals.
Marcos, son and namesake of the late strongman, on the other hand, leads the vice presidential race despite being hounded by speculations he would repeat past martial law abuses. The senator has pursued a campaign platform of national unity.
In his freedom speech, the President said those plotting another dictatorship could prevail only if the Filipino people are divided and will remain silent.
“Sa pagpapamalas natin ng People Power, wala nang sinuman ang mamumuno pa para abusuhin at apihin ang Pilipino,” the President said.
Aquino also strongly rejected the belief of some people the country supposedly needs a “perfect dictator” to lead the country and resolve its problems.