Palace defends Duterte rants vs frontliners: Health workers sought publicity first
MANILA, Philippines — The medical community should have given the government a chance to respond to their pleadings before seeking “publicity,” Malacañang said Monday in defense of President Rodrigo Duterte’s rants against the COVID-19 medical frontliners.
“Malinaw po ang sinabi ng Presidente, hindi naman kinakailangan na magkaroon ng splash kumbaga. Sana binigyan naman siya ng pagkakataon na masagot ang liham bago sila nagkaroon ng publicity,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a televised Palace press briefing.
(What the President said was clear, some kind of splash is no longer needed. I hope they gave him a chance to answer the letter before they made a publicity.)
“Dahil ang naobserbahan natin, talagang nauna pa ang webinar bago doon sa pagtanggap sa liham ng Presidente,” he added.
(Because what we observed, the webinar started first prior to the President receiving the letter.)
Roque even claimed that the media stand witness that several medical societies held a press conference and publicized their position even before their letter reached Duterte’s office.
“Ang hindi lang po nakakaalam ng laman ng liham si President mismo. Hindi ko po alam kung bakit nangyari yun pero hayaan na po natin ‘yan dahil ang Presidente naman pinagbigyan kung ano ang gusto mangyari ng frontliners,” the Palace official pointed out.
(The only one who doesn’t know the content of the letter was the President himself. I don’t know why this happened but let’s leave it at that because the President has already heeded them on what the frontliners want.)
Although he acknowledged the health workers’ sacrifices amid the pandemic, Duterte, in a speech aired Sunday night, scolded them for going public without even giving the government a chance to address their concerns.
“Ngayon anong gusto ninyo, I will implement other things in this government without informing you. Would you be happy with that?” he said.
(Now what do you want.)
The President even dared health care professionals to stage a revolution if they think it would solve the problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This came after several medical societies led by the Philippine College of Physicians called on the government to reimpose stricter lockdown measures in Metro Manila and nearby provinces to the check rising cases of COVID-19—a call the President heeded.
But Roque explained that Duterte was particularly reeling about the “revolution song” of the government critics and the remarks of opposition figures against the administration’s COVID-19 response when he dared health workers to revolt.
“Ang konteksto po na lumabas ito ay sunod-sunod po kasi yung pagtawag po ni Senator Drilon na failure ng IATF, sinusugan pa ‘yan ni VP [Vice President] Leni Robredo, kasabay po ‘yang kumakalat na revolution song,” Roque explained.
(The context came out one after another, Senator Franklin Drilon called the IATF efforts a failure, which was followed up by VP Leni Robredo, in accordance with the revolution song that is being disseminated.)
“So ang Presidente po, sabi niya, kung yun talagang mga nanggugulo, yung mga nais magsamantala sa pandemic na nais siyang palitan through a revolution, sige na po gawin na natin ngayon.”
(So the President, he said if these are ones trying to meddle things, the ones trying to take advantage of the pandemic for him to be replaced through a revolution, alright let’s do it now.)
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