Arroyo hits critics of Duterte’s COVID-19 response: So easy to play Monday morning quarterback
MANILA, Philippines — Former President and Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo came to the defense of President Rodrigo Duterte amid the flak the government is getting for its COVID-19 response.
In a now-deleted Facebook post on Tuesday, Arroyo told Duterte’s critics, whom she called “Monday morning quarterbacks,” that it is “easy” for them to criticize when they are not in charge.
“Monday morning quarterbacks” are people who criticize something after the event has passed.
“It is easy for them to be a Monday morning quarterback because they are not the ones in charge,” she said.
Arroyo, who served as Speaker of the House of Representatives from July 2018 to June 2019, is known to be a supporter of Duterte.
She has previously said she has the highest respect for government officials, especially those at the forefront of the COVID-19 response.
Arroyo was president of the country during the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003, bird flu in 2006, and swine flu in 2009.
“I was head of our government in the SARS, avian flu, and swine flu. From that perspective, I must say that I have nothing but the highest respect for all of those in our government now battling in the arena, from President [Rodrigo] Duterte to Sec. [Carlito] Galvez, to Sec. [Francisco] Duque and to each and every frontliner in the trenches and checkpoints, many of whom have given their lives in this fight,” Arroyo said during a House hearing.
“I have been in the arena, so I think I have earned the right to say that an ounce of their effort is worth more than the ton of criticism they receive day in and day out,” she added.
The Duterte administration has been heavily criticized for supposedly focusing on other less pressing issues —like passing the controversial Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 and shutting down ABS-CBN — instead of concentrating its efforts on COVID-19 response.
The President is again facing backlash after critics claimed he presented no concrete masterplan to recover from the coronavirus pandemic during his fifth State of the Nation Address.
He instead lashed at some critics including Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon. He also renewed his call to revive the death penalty for drug-related crimes.
At a briefing with Cabinet officials in Malacañang, Duterte said medicine and budget to address COVID-19 must come first before a “roadmap to recovery” from the pandemic can be drafted.
“Sabihin ninyo wala kaming roadmap. The roadmap ng recovery natin, sabi ko nga hindi ako nagbabasa ng newspaper. If it’s about me I do not read… ‘Duterte, where is the roadmap?’” Duterte said in a taped address aired Friday.
“Hindi nga kami maka-roadmap because we were talking about budget. Itong gabing ito. I could not have uttered a single sentence about roadmap to recovery kasi ang una talaga dyan, ang medicine,” he explained.
As of August 3, there are 106,330 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country, with 2,104 deaths and 65,821 recoveries. [ac]
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