MANILA -- The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday took exception to the grounds cited by think tank Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) to downgrade the rating of the Philippines in its democracy index for 2018.
“The political opposition has not been muzzled at all in defending themselves and has unfettered access to both the local and international media,” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said in a message to reporters, adding that all state actions including those against administration critics were legitimate “to protect the state and the people”.
Based on the EIU's Democracy Index 2018 released on Wednesday, the Philippines ranked 53rd among 167 countries in terms of quality of democracy.
“I can't agree that these government actions are undemocratic in anyway, and this so-called intelligence report by the economist should not bother us at all,” Guevarra said.
DOJ Undersecretary and spokesman Markk Perete, for his part, stressed that the government has not resorted to legal actions against members of the opposition.
“Legal action has been, and will be, taken as called for by the circumstances in each case and as dictated by the evidence at hand, regardless of the political affiliation of the party concerned,” Perete explained. (PNA)