Former Senate President Aquilino "Nene" Pimentel, Jr. on Sunday challenged the US intelligence community to provide evidence for its claim that President Rodrigo Duterte is a threat to democracy.
"Huwag naman basta sinabi ng Amerikano e totoo na iyan," Pimentel told DZMM radio.
"Kahit sino pa ang magsabi d'yan -- Intsik, Amerikano, Hapon o sino d'yan -- they must produce the proof para mapaniwalaan ng tao," he added.
(Just because the Americans said it, doesn't mean it is automatically true. No matter who said that -- Chinese, Americans Japanese or anyone else -- they must produce proof for the public to believe them. )
A World Threat Assessment Report recently placed Duterte alongside Cambodia’s Hun Sen, the Rohingya crisis and Thailand’s military-backed constitution as impediments to democracy in Southeast Asia.
The Filipino leader has threatened to declare a revolutionary government or nationwide martial law amid criticisms of his anti-narcotics crackdown that has seen some 4,000 killed.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque earlier rejected the report, saying Duterte's independent foreign policy has made him "not a favorite among the Americans."
But Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, an opposition lawmaker, believes the assessment was a "warning shot" for the President who is "nearing a red line."
DZMM, 25 February 2018