MANILA - The United States, not President Rodrigo Duterte, is the threat to democracies in Asia and other parts of the world, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said Thursday.
Alvarez's statement comes a day after a US intelligence report
branded Duterte as a threat to democracy in Southeast Asia for declaring in his speeches that "he could suspend the Constitution, declare a 'revolutionary government,' and impose nationwide martial law."
The World Threat Assessment Report also noted findings of Freedom House that the Philippine government is allegedly using social media to silence government critics.
"Hindi nila na-realize na itong Amerika ang threat sa democracy ng buong mundo. Sila nanggugulo sa buong mundo para makabenta sila ng ammunition, mga baril. Sila threat sa democracy," Alvarez said.
(They don't realize it is the US that is the threat to democracies around the world. They keep on stoking conflict to sell ammunition, guns. They are the threat to democracy.)
Alvarez said Duterte should not be considered as a threat as the the President has been working on free education, free irrigation, and anti-corruption projects.
"Ang threat sa democracy ay 'yung tao na namumuno na wala namang ginagawang kabutihan sa sambayanang Pilipino," he said.
(The threat to democracy is one who is not doing anything for the welfare of Filipinos.)
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said Duterte was included in the World Threat Assessment Report because he is a threat to US interests in the region.
"The President is a threat to democracy? Maybe what the US intelligence means is that he is a threat to criminal elements, he is a threat to drug lords, he is a threat to terrorists, he is a threat to all this anti to the forces of democracy. He is, more particularly, a threat to US interest," Panelo told ANC's Early Edition.
In 2016, Duterte loosened ties with Manila's traditional ally Washington after then US President Barack Obama criticized the Philippine government's bloody crackdown on illegal drugs.
After snubbing the US, Duterte forged friendlier relations with other global powers such as China and Russia, both America's rivals.
Relations between the Philippines and the US has improved since US President Donald Trump took power and even commended Duterte's anti-drug campaign.
-- with a report from Zen Hernandez, ABS-CBN News