MANILA- Senator Leila De Lima questioned the timing of President Rodrigo Duterte's announcement of "separation" from the United States on Friday, calling her top critic "naive" and "delusional."
De Lima said she couldn't help but think why the President would announce his foreign policy during a state visit and that probing questions should be asked "in light of these earth-shaking policy overhaul."
Duterte, in China for a state visit, announced his "separation" from the US on Thursday following a bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
"It's one thing to keep your Cabinet members in the dark which is deeply troubling in itself but it's a whole level of betrayal to keep that from the Filipino people, and to announce it for the first time in front of foreigners," she said.
She added that Duterte is only proving that he is a "naive child" with his decisions on foreign policy.
"President Duterte has a really inflated, if not delusional, view of himself as a strongman at the level of China and Russia's leadership.
But he's only proving that he's a naïve child, looking at the world through distorted lenses when it comes to a lot of things, including foreign policy absolutely no concept or care for the consequences of his actions," she said.
Duterte also announced on Thursday that he has "realigned" himself to the ideological flow of China and that "there are three of us against the world - China, Philippines and Russia."
The senator also reiterated the words of Senator Richard Gordon, calling Duterte's statements as a "material concealment" from Filipinos.
"Obviously, this is not what they signed up for when they cast their vote last May 2016, if we go by the huge disparity between the trust rating that the US garnered vs. China, where Filipinos themselves said that they trust the US most and China least!" she said.
De Lima also urged the public to look at the reality of issues and not "the romantic picture that our star-struck and starry-eyed President wants to see" when it comes to dealing with China and Russia.
"I'm not saying that China or Russia is not capable of respecting our people's human rights, but we have to look at facts and reality. If their own people have limited expectations about respect for their human rights, labor law protections and, in general, freedom from violence from their own government, palagay mo ba tayong mga Pilipino can expect more?" De Lima asked.
De Lima compared the country's foreign policy to illegal recruiters, saying that "if it's too easy and if it sounds too good to be true," then the situation may lead to negative consequences.
"Oo nga siguro, mas mahirap makakuha ng visa sa mga bansang katulad ng US, pero iyon ay dahil may kaakibat na pangakong mas magandang buhay, hindi pamumuhay na ikaw ay ituturing na basura o less than human," she said.
(Yes, maybe it is harder to acquire visas from countries like the US but that is because it comes with a promise of a better life and not a life where you are treated as trash or less than human.)
STOP MAKING ENEMIES
De Lima also asked President Duterte if he positions himself as a single third world country and whether he thinks China and Russia would provide assistance when Filipino overseas workers are in trouble.
"Palagay mo kaya mo mag-isa? Palagay mo tutulungan ka lagi ng China at Russia? Palagay mo they are even in a position to help you under most circumstances?" she asked.
(Do you think you can do it alone? Do you think China and Russia will help you? Do you think they are in a position to help you under most circumstances?)
She adds: "If you isolate yourself from the world, it isn't you who suffers, Mr. President, it is the Filipino people. By all means, make friends! But stop making yourself the enemy of the world!"
'ACTING ON BITTERNESS'
De Lima also criticized Duterte for not standing by the constitution and for acting on his own "bitterness" after the President revealed on Wednesday that he was denied a US visa in the past.
"Biruin mo, na-deny ka lang ng US visa noon, hindi ka lang naka-move on, itinanim mo pa ang bitterness mo nang ilang taon hanggang sa maging Presidente ka at magamit mo ang posisyon mo para gumanti sa pakiramdam mo ay atraso sa'yo," the senator said.
(Imagine, you were just denied a US visa before and you weren't able to move on so you carried your bitterness for years until you become President and use your position to avenge your feelings which you feel are sins against you.)
De Lima, who is under fire for allegedly being linked to the illegal drug trade in the Bilibid, said the situation sounds "painfully and personally familiar," apparently referring to Duterte's tirades against her.
"It's saddening, frightening and highly incensing that this President does not have a true servant-leader's capacity to put the interests of the people ahead of his own bitterness," she said.