Pangilinan to Sara Duterte: Duty to country over debt of gratitude

Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Thursday said that while he knows how to pay a debt of gratitude to those who have supported his political ambitions, it is his duty to country and to the Filipino people which will always come first.

“Nalulungkot tayo sa mga paratang sa atin ni Mayor Sara Duterte sa social media. Marunong din naman tayong tumanaw ng utang na loob sa mga tumulong sa atin sa halalan. Kasama na dito ang Davao City,” Pangilinan said.

“Subalit ang tungkulin natin sa bayan at sa kapwa Pilipino ay mas matimbang sa anumang pagkakaibigan. May hangganan din ang tumanaw ng utang na loob,” he added.

Pangilinan, president of former ruling Liberal Party (LP), said he has in fact dedicated several projects for Davao City during his first two terms as senator.

Pangilinan said it would have been easier for him to keep silent if he was ambitious as he is being potrayed by Mayor Sara, daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Sa totoo lang, mas madali at may pakinabang sa nag-a-ambisyon ang tumahimik na lang at sumama sa agos. Marami sa Partido Liberal ang lumipat na sa PDP-Laban dahil sa ambisyon at sa pulitika. Dapat sana ganun din ako,” Pangilinan said.

“Nauunawaan ko ang sitwasyon nang binabatikos sa pulitika. Halos dalawang dekada na rin akong naninilbihan bilang mataas na opisyal ng bansa. Masakit ang pinupuna at binabatikos ngunit ganyan ang demokrasya,” he added.

Pangilinan, however, did not address Sara Duterte’s claim that he met with President Duterte, then city mayor of Davao, to seek his endorsement for the presidential elections.

In a Facebook post, Mayor Duterte slammed Pangilinan and Senators Risa Hontiveros and Antonio Trillanes IV, calling them “opportunists.”

“Matanong ko lang, nung mga panahon na humingi kayo ng tulong, may isyu ba kayo sa governance ni PRD [President Rodrigo Duterte]? Wala. Ngayon na nanalo na siya? Meron. Hunger Games, Pilipinas: Plastic na, oportunista pa,” the younger Duterte posted.

Sara referred to the group Tinding Pilipinas as “Hunger Games Pilipinas” as the three-fingered salute is reminiscent of a similar sign from the Hunger Games novels and films.

The Senate minority bloc, of which the three senators are members of, is part of the Tinding Pilipinas coalition.

Pangilinan, according to Sara’s post, allegedly visited ther father in a golf club in Davao City “several years ago” to seek his endorsement for a presidential bid.

“‘With Sharon’s endorsement and your (PRD) endorsement I’m sure I can make it,'” Sara quoted Pangilinan as saying.

“Dati pa-endorse ka sa kanya ngayon may pa hunger games salute effect ka,” she added.