MALACANANG responded to former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s criticism saying that he shares the blame in the culture of impunity for his failure in addressing media killings during his term.
“I wish he did more also in protecting human life,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said.
This was after Aquino on Monday, July 30, publicly stated his objection to President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement in his State of the Nation Address (SONA).
“Puwede bang paghiwalayin iyun? Puwede bang wala kang karapatan na universal nga. Maski saang parte ng mundo, pare-pareho iyung basic rights (How can those [human rights and human lives] be separated? Is it possible to have no rights when it is universal? Everywhere in the world, it is all the same basic rights),” Aquino told the reporters.
In a report from ABS-CBN News, the former president included a quote from his late father, Sen. Ninoy Aquino.
“Naalala ko iyung sinabi ng tatay ko noong araw, ‘pag pinayagan mong yurakan ang karapatan ng isa, hinahanda mo iyung pagkakataon na iyung karapatan mo rin ang mayurakan (I remember what my father once said, ‘if you allow the rights of another person to be violated, you are paving the way for your own rights to be trampled upon),” the younger Aquino stated.
Roque clapped back noting that Aquino was also at fault in several issues involving human lives.
“It was during his administration that the United Nations noticed that we were in breach of our obligation to the right to life, especially on the killing of journalists as well,” Roque said.
In a report from Inquirer.net, Aquino’s remarks were an apparent swipe when Duterte stressed that he was more concerned with human lives in combating illegal drugs.
“If you think that I can be dissuaded from continuing this fight because of demonstrations, your protests, which I, by the way, find misdirected, then you got it all wrong. Your concern is human rights, mine is human lives,” Duterte said last week.
Roque ensured the public that Duterte is standing by his controversial statement and that there should be no argument about the value of human rights.
“The president goes by what he says. He’s pursuing the drug war because he values human lives,” Roque said in a press briefing.
“If the construction of many is that human life forms part of human rights, then so be it. That proves my point [that] the president is espousing, protecting, advancing human rights.”
The Duterte administration had been drawing flak in its increasing drug war casualties, as well as the growing number of slain journalists since the president assumed office.