Koko, Alan urged to stand up vs Duterte's 'vices'


Rodrigo Duterte, Alan Peter Cayetano and Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III.

'Let us stand for what is right,' says Palace spokesman Lacierda

MANILA - "Will you countenance a president who has the corrupt vices that both of you warred against?"

A Palace official on Friday threw this question at Senators Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III and Alan Peter Cayetano, following the allegations of undeclared or hidden wealth against their presidential candidate Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

In a Facebook post, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda first praised Cayetano and Pimentel for their "persistent stance for good government."

Lacierda lauded Cayetano for exposing before the Senate allegations of wrongdoing by former First Gentleman Mike Arroyo during the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

He also commended Pimentel for refusing to give up on his electoral protest against former Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri after losing in the 2007 mid-term polls.

Zubiri resigned in 2011 amid allegations of electoral fraud, paving the way for Pimentel to take over the vacant seat in the upper house.

The presidential spokesperson said he continued to respect both senators even after Pimentel backed Duterte for the May 9 elections due to their regional ties. Both are from Mindanao.

He noted, however, that Cayetano has become the "sanitizer" for the mayor's "reckless, callous statements."

Now that Duterte is accused of failing to declare cash in his bank accounts in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth,
Lacierda said he hopes that both senators will refrain from dismissing the allegation with the same excuses given by those who faced their Senate investigations, such as Vice President Jojo Binay.

READ: Duterte accounts had P2.4-B in transactions - Trillanes

"Being the crusaders of good governance, you are all too familiar with the source documents of Sen. Trillanes as well as the Binay defense - 'pulitika lang yan' or 'black propaganda yan,'" Lacierda said.

"I would hope that both of you who tormented Binay and his ilk will not resort to the same line of defense, however different or elegant the language maybe."

READ: Senate Binay hearings fruitful - Koko


He also questioned them on how they plan to act on Duterte's alleged hidden wealth, saying: "Do you go silently and go gently into that good night or do you speak out against the corruption that you fought so forcefully and vociferously?

"And even assuming you keep quiet which would certainly diminish the respect of many a good governance advocates all over the country, will you countenance a president who has the corrupt vices that both of you warred against?" he added.

Citing the importance of rightly choosing the country's next president, Lacierda also urged them to follow their moral compass.

"In the end my dear senators, it is not who will win the presidency and damn the torpedoes, it is who will lead this country faithfully and honestly and who always carries the the people's interests in mind," he said.

"You know who I speak of. Let us not throw away our moral compass just for the sake of winning. Let us stand for what is right, what is just and what is true."

READ: Duterte dared: Sign a 'real' waiver