MANILA - House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Friday defended President Rodrigo Duterte's admission of being a dictator and alleged that the chief executive's critics are the ones who are really acting as despots.
Duterte on Thursday said he had to be a dictator to put the country in order.
Alvarez said the President is simply exercising his powers within the limits of democracy.
"Hindi naman talaga diktador yung ating pangulo eh. Dapat nating isipin na ginagawa niya yung ini-exercise niya yung powers in accordance with the principles of democracy," he told ABS-CBN News.
(The President is not really a dictator. We should think that what he is doing is simply an exercise of powers within the principles of democracy.)
He added that the problem is that some critics of the President want to be dictators.
"Yung ilan na mga tao, yung mga small minority na sanay na sila na dinidiktahan nila yung mga leaders ng bansang ito ay gusto nila sila yung maging diktador," he said.
(A minority of people are used to dictating the leaders of this country and want to be dictators.)
"Ayaw sila pakinggan, ayaw ng Pangulo sila yung magiging diktador," he added.
(The President does not want to listen to them. He doesn't want them to be dictators.)
Opposition lawmaker Tom Villarin, however, said the President's recent pronouncement is only a confirmation of his true nature.
“The admission by President Duterte of being a dictator confirms all along what he is doing since day one of his administration," he said.
"Dictators bring down a country, bring pain and untold sufferings to people and the children who will have a traumatized future. And this is no joke nor a trivial matter that can be spinned by Malacanang."