Senator Risa Hontiveros on Thursday said her criticisms on the government’s war on drugs should come as no surprise to Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.
In a statement, Hontiveros said the while she is “saddened” by the recent remarks of Sara, daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte, she harbors “no ill will.”
“But this is not a question of loyalty. This is a matter of service, of consistency and of principle, and the defense of the rule of law and human rights. I am sure, as a fellow public servant, she understands that,” Hontiveros said.
Hontiveros, a member of the Senate minority bloc, said she is “grateful” for the younger Duterte’s support for her senatorial campaign. She said, however, that the Davao mayor had always known where she stood on issues of human rights and extrajudicial killings.
“I have been consistent in this regard. My stand on the war on drugs and my current criticisms of the administration should come as no surprise,” Hontiveros said.
“Dissent is healthy in a democracy. It serves a check and balance to abuse of power and a way to better governance. It should never be viewed as a hindrance,” she added.
In a Facebook post, Mayor Duterte slammed Hontiveros, and Senators Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan 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.
She said Hontiveros sought her help to get votes in Mindanao.
“Habang tinutulungan ko si PRD at ang nanay ko mangampanya, nasa byaheng du30 ako, ilang beses mo ako inabala, kinulit at tinawagan para humingi ka ng tulong sa boto mo sa Davao City?” the mayor said.
“I can remember your bored face listening to me in our law office just so you can get support for Davao,” she added.