By Genalyn Kabiling
Detained Senator Leila de Lima should focus on meditation and prayers after talking nonsense and becoming “a pathetic figure and a pitiful caricature,” Malacañang said Tuesday following her call for an independent probe on the recent blasts in Jolo and Zamboanga.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo slammed De Lima over her latest reckless tirade against President Duterte and allegations about the recent bombings in Jolo and Zamboanga.
“The detained Senator Leila de Lima is talking nonsense. Her confinement has dulled her senses,” Panelo said.
“Having lost a venue in the halls of Congress for her attacks on the President, and having become an irrelevant political entity, she tries to re-enter the public’s consciousness by dishing out reckless and offensive rants against the President reducing herself into a pathetic figure and a pitiful caricature,” he said.
Panelo said De Lima was “better off indulging herself in meditation and prayers so the goodness in her heart comes out in full bloom instead of seeing only the dark side in her dungeon.”
De Lima has supported calls for an independent investigation into the recent two bombings in the south as she cast doubt on Duterte’s ability to ensure the safety and protection of the people.
She also questioned the President’s hasty conclusion that suicide bombers were behind the church blast in Jolo. She said if the terrorists were behind the bombings, Duterte’s threats were nothing but empty words.
Panelo, however, hit back at De Lima for alleging the President cannot protect the people, reminding her that Duterte “crushed the dreaded and ruthless ISIS and their local counterparts in the Marawi siege.”
“This is also the same President who has declared a war on drugs, criminality and corruption and gained headway in all those fronts by his swift action and enforcement of the law, without fear or favor,” he said.
Panelo emphasized that there would have been violence in Mindanao if martial law was not declared. “Had not the President declared martial law in battling the enemies of the state, the entire Mindanao would have been in chaos with bombings and killings a daily occurrence,” he said.
He also slammed at De Lima for being “callous” to the government troops risking their lives to protect and defend the nation.
“Instead of giving words of support to the ground forces in Mindanao and consoling the bereaved loved ones of those who perished in the bombing incident, which is the least she could have done, she opted to be indifferent, if not callous, to the military men who were killed in the line of duty, as well as to the bravery of our soldiers who are ferociously hunting the terrorists and risking their lives in pursuing the barbaric criminals to bring them to justice,” he said.
The Palace official likewise defended the intelligence community after De Lima blamed them for the recent tragic incidents.
“The fact that the soldiers were not able to detect the terrorists who disguised themselves as churchgoers is no reason for this criminally accused legislator to be so insensitive as to blame them for the tragedy,” he said.
Two terror blasts hit the Jolo Cathedral last January 27, killing 22 people and injuring dozens of others. Authorities claimed the church attack was carried out by two Indonesian suicide bombers aided by the Abu Sayyaf Group.
A grenade blast inside a mosque in Zamboanga claimed two lives and injured four others last January 30. Policemen probing the blast have not seen any link between the Jolo and Zamboanga incidents.