By Raymund Antonio
Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday said President Rodrigo Duterte and other politicians should not use freedom of expression to offend people’s sensitivities.
In her weekly “BISErbisyong Leni” radio show, Robredo told Duterte that he is expected to respect not only the sensitivities of women, but also that of all Filipinos because he is a public official.
“Kailangan pinapaalala sa sarili naming araw-araw na sinasabi namin palagi may epekto sa nakakaraming tao. Kahit pribadong tao, hindi pwede magsabi ng anu-ano kung makakasama sa iba lalo na kami,” she said.
(We have to remind ourselves everyday that what we say has an effect to many people. Even a private person can’t say anything that harmful to others, especially us.)
Robredo, the leader of the opposition, reminded Duterte and other government officials like them that their freedom of expression comes with obligations.
“Una, hindi ka nakakasakit. Hindi ka nakakatapak. Hindi na naaantig ‘yung sensitivities ng mga tao (First of all, you’re not hurting people and offending their sensitivities),” she said.
“Dahil tinitingnan kami ng publiko, mas malaki ang responsibilidad na dapat ‘yung sinasabi namin hindi siya nagiging halimbawa. Hindi siya nagiging halimbawa na ayaw nating sundin kasi makakasama sa maraming tao,” she added.
(Because the public look at us, we have greater responsibility that we should ensure what we say would not become an example. This should not be an example that we have to follow because it affects many people.)
The Vice President issued the reminder days after Duterte accused her female critics of “depriving” him of his right to freedom of expression.
Duterte, at an event recognizing outstanding female law enforcers in Malacañang, lambasted them for supposedly finding fault in every word he says.
“You crazy women, don’t – it’s the freedom of expression. I am doing this because I am trying to bring you to the limits of despair,” he said in Filipino.
Robredo disagreed with the Chief Executive over his remarks.
“Walang unlimited na kalayaan. Lahat ng kalayaan may kaakibat na responsibilidad. Sa lahat may kalayaan kung ano gustong mong sabihin pero kung ito ikakasama ng iba tao, kahit hindi pa babae, masama pa din iyon,” she said.
(There is no unlimited freedom. Freedom comes with responsibilities. Everyone has freedom on what you want to say but if it’s harmful to others, not only to women, that’s is still bad.)
In her radio show, Robredo also blasted social media trolls for connecting her last year’s statement about rape to the case of a 16-year-old girl who was brutally killed in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu.
Her remark, “Rape exists because of rapists,” was turned into a meme by her online bashers, but Robredo said they had taken it out of context.
“Wala tayo maasahahan kapag troll gagawa ng issue. Through the two and half years, nakita natin ang dali gumawa ng fake news, ang daling ikiling balita na magsu-suit sa kanila,” she said.
(We expect nothing if the troll will make an issue. Through the two and half years, we have seen how easy to create fake news and manipulate the news that will suit them.)