Sereno hits Duterte: AFP benefits come from taxpayers, not you

'No, Mr. President, those allowances and salary increases come not from you. They come from hard-earned taxpayers' money,' says the former chief justice

Camille Elemia

1:41:34pm September 12, 2018

1:41:39pm September 12, 2018

AFP BENEFITS. Former chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno reminds President Rodrigo Duterte that the AFP benefits did not come from him but from the people's money. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

AFP BENEFITS. Former chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno reminds President Rodrigo Duterte that the AFP benefits did not come from him but from the people's money. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Ousted chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Wednesday, September 12, lectured President Rodrigo Duterte after the latter made it appear that he was the source and reason for the soldiers’ pay and benefits hike.

Duterte on Tuesday reminded soldiers that he had given a lot to the Armed Forces of the Philippines, compared to opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV. This came after the AFP did not follow the President’s order to arrest the former Navy officer. (READ: Duterte dares AFP: You want another president? Fine)

"Ngayon kung magmalasakit si Trillanes sa inyo, ngayon doon kayo. Never mind me, I can survive. You can kill me, you can oust me…. Kung Trillanes alam ninyo simpatiya-simpatiya ka diyan, ang inisip niya sarili niya," said Duterte in a live interview with Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo on Tuesday.

(If Trillanes was ever compassionate to you, you go to him. Never mind me, I can survive. You can kill me, you can oust me. You give your sympathies to Trillanes but he's thinking only of himself.)

Before the President's televised interview, Trillanes had issued media statements, listing down the bills and projects he had initiated for the benefit of uniformed personnel. 

Sereno slammed Duterte’s apparent credit grabbing and said he was not the source of all the money given to soldiers.

“When President Duterte said, 'O, kung may maiibigay sa inyo si Trillanes, dun na kayo (If Trillanes has something to give you, then go to him),' he is basically saying that those benefits come from him,” Sereno said in a press conference on Wednesday, September 12, after visiting Trillanes in his office.

“No, Mr President, those allowances and salary increases come not from you. They do not come from any politician. They come from hard-earned taxpayers' money," she said.

The former chief justice also criticized Duterte for his repetitive use of possessive words, saying she hopes Duterte would never claim that he also owns the taxpayers’ money.

In the same presser, Sereno denounced Duterte’s action revoking the amnesty of Trillanes. Sereno said Duterte’s actions endangered the AFP. – Rappler.com