Casiño: Look who's talking
AUCKLAND, New Zealand (UPDATE 1) – After criticizing corrupt officials in the past administration, President Aquino also took a dig at a leftist senatorial candidate who he said is not faring well in surveys.
In an interview with Radio New Zealand, Aquino defended his administration's human rights record, saying that the government is running after those who have committed human rights abuses, including retired Major General Jovito Palparan.
He said that even government agents are at the receiving end of attacks, citing cases of violence during demolitions.
"Well, we won't claim that there are no human rights issues within our country. But I think in the past two weeks, for instance, we've had a lot of abuses done on state agents. When they were enforcing, for instance, eviction notice on land issues, they were pelted with human waste and a lot of danger has happened to our people. Perhaps I keep saying that human right is for everybody. Not because you're… a government employee that your rights are any less than any other citizens,” he said in the interview.
Asked to comment about groups criticizing his administration's human rights record, Aquino cited leftist groups being "very good at propaganda.”
He also noted that one senatorial candidate backed by leftist groups is faring poorly in pre-election surveys. While he did not name names, the leftist Makabayan Coalition has only fielded one candidate - Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño - for the 2013 senatorial election.
Casiño placed in the bottom two of potential Senate bets in a recent Pulse Asia survey.
"We have a very vocal leftist community but if the surveys are any indication, they have a senatorial candidate-our senators are elected at large throughout the nation-and this person currently has 2.6 percent of the population voting for him which is very, very little 'cause there's only the 12 candidates out of about 27 I think who are running this time around who will have seats in the Senate,” Aquino said.
"So they are very good at propaganda but I think the record speaks for itself. One of the accused former general of our army is our fugitive from justice because there is a warrant of arrest… We're trying to remove that impunity that used to exist. My predecessor is currently in jail awaiting trial. She's detained. We've removed the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court through an impeachment process. So basically we want to ensure that the rule of law applies to everybody."
'Look who's talking'
In response to Aquino's quip about his low survey ratings, Casiño said: "Let me remind the President that before his mother died, he did not even rate in any survey nor was considered by anyone to be of presidential calibre. In fact, he only became senator because of his lineage and the heroic efforts of his mother and sister.
"So before he derides me or any candidate for that matter for rating low in the surveys, he should look at himself first. Trust me, Mr. President, if I had Ninoy and Cory as parents, I'd probably be in your shoes too, except that I would not look down on ordinary mortals like me who have no political pedigree like yours but who have every right to serve the country as congressman or senator, for that matter."