Duterte: “I may disagree with what you say but I will defend your right to say it. We are in a democracy.”

Ever since it became clear that Rodrigo Duterte was likely to win the Presidency in the PHilippines, I’ve been having a two track reactions.  One one track, I’m excited to see someone who is definitely not “more of the same” take the reins in the rambunctious Philippines, and hopeful that intractable problems may actually seem less intractable with a forceful, dynamic leader at the helm.  But on the other track is concern that democratic freedoms are about to be seriously eroded, or worse.

So I read the following with a certain sigh of relief:

Asked how he will handle critics like Sen. Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV, Duterte said he will not hinder anyone from exercising his or her right to democracy.  “I may disagree with what you say but I will defend your right to say it. We are in a democracy,” the presumptive president said. . . . Duterte said he will not go after his political enemies but said that he may question them.

“Maybe, when I sit as president, I will be asking, but I am not going to prosecute,” Duterte said.  “I am not up to it, actually, going after political enemies,” he added.

The tough-talking mayor said that if the public wants to know about any transactions in government, he will order transparency.  Duterte also assured the media that he can receive criticisms and won’t go after them.  “Wala naman akong ginagawa sa kanila e so bakit sila magreklamo sa akin,” Duterte said when praised for handling the Mindanao media, which Soho raised as an example.

Very glad to hear this.

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