MANILA – Malacañang on Thursday said former Senator Rene Saguisag's tag on President Rodrigo Duterte as the “new Macoy” is uncalled for, after the veteran human rights lawyer slammed the government for "neglecting" this year's EDSA Revolution anniversary.
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said, Saguisag’s label on Duterte may be “uncalled for”, but he said he respects the view of the veteran lawyer.
“Senator Saguisag has emotional ties to these things and, you know, we’re not downgrading that. I’m just saying that he also feels very strongly and perhaps he wants it to be celebrated in a more grandiose way,” Abella said in a news conference.
“But going back to whether he’s the new Macoy, the President is the new Macoy, you know, I think, the comparison is too broad and uncalled for.”
Saguisag, in a television interview, said it was no longer surprising that the celebration for the 31st anniversary of EDSA Revolution will be toned down this year, given Duterte’s fondness of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who is also known by the nickname “Macoy.”
“Iyung budget ata na nabasa ko P1 million. Ang ginagastos ni Digong sa byahe niya P300 million. To me as one who played a role noon, nakakalungkot dahil that was one bright, shining moment that we shocked and awed the whole world. Eh bakit ganoong babaliwalain?” Saguisag, who served as Cory Aquino's spokesperson, said.
“Pero karapatan nila yan, dahil itong si Digong, bagong Macoy ito eh. kaya hindi kami nagtataka.”
The Duterte administration has opted to conduct a simple celebration for the historic event.
But Abella said, the government is not necessarily “downgrading” this year’s celebrations.
“I don’t know if you call it downgrading. It simply is a different style. You know, different strokes, different folks,” he said.
Duterte will not attend the EDSA Anniversary rites in Camp Aguinaldo on Friday, Malacanang said.
Duterte will instead be in his hometown Davao to attend the relaunch of Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.
Duterte, a Marcos fan, allowed the burial of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the heroes' cemetery last year, drawing protests from Martial law human rights victims.