(THE hereunder press statement has been provided to this paper by the Media and Communications Team of the office of Atty. Leila M. De Lima, spokesperson of the Liberal Party).
Hindi maka-Mindanao, kundi makasarili, ang itinutulak na secession ni Rodrigo Duterte.
We believe this rhetoric is not motivated by a genuine desire for regional development, but rather a desperate attempt to deflect scrutiny and avoid accountability for his actions during his presidency.
Duterte's history reveals a concerning pattern of exploiting divisive tactics for personal gain. His abrupt withdrawal from the ICC investigation into the drug war demonstrates this strategy. Now, faced with potential legal repercussions, he resurrects the secession issue, a highly sensitive and complex topic, to manipulate public discourse and divert attention.
Malalim ang magiging implikasyon ng paghiwalay ng Mindanao hindi lang para sa mga kapatid natin sa timog, kundi pati sa buong Pilipinas. Malinaw naman: kapayapaan, katatagan, at mas maraming oportunidad ang kailangan ng mga Pilipino sa Mindanao. Hindi ang kung anumang pinagkakaabalahan ngayon ng mga lasing sa kapangyarihan.
We urge all Filipinos to reject Mr. Duterte's divisive rhetoric and embrace a shared vision of a just, prosperous nation. Together, we must focus on real solutions that address the challenges facing Mindanao and the entire Philippines, refusing to be distracted by dangerous ploys driven by personal gain.