Duterte vents ire again on De Lima during COVID-19 briefing
MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Leila de Lima got another tongue-lashing from President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday during his pre-recorded briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic, marking his return to the public eye after he canceled two scheduled appearances last week.
Duterte mentioned De Lima several times as he was trying to explain his almost two-week absence. According to the chief executive, De Lima — one of his staunchest critics — was rejoicing over rumors that he was in a bad shape.
“Actually, what you intend or what you would like to happen is to see me go. You want me to go and you’re praying for that,” he said.
Shifting to Filipino, he added: “Now, kindly take a look backward. How many of you have been sick? And how many of you were near death?”
Duterte also took except for De Lima’s calling him out for playing golf and riding a motorcycle while the country was experiencing a new surge in COVID-19 cases.
“If you disrespect me, I will disrespect you,” he said in Filipino. “Like De Lima. You deserve that. Bear it. You [CURSING]. You disrespected the Philippines with [the sale of] drugs at the National Penitentiary. Now you keep on yakking there and saying whatever you want.”
[Original statement: “Pag binabastos ninyo ako, babastusin ko rin kayo. Kagaya kay De Lima. Tama ‘yan sa’yo. Magtiis ka. P*tang i*a mo. Binastos mo ang Pilipinas na droga dyan mismo sa National Penitentiary. Ngayon sige ka yaw-yaw dyan kung ano-ano ang pinagsasabi mo.”]
“Why? Were you the one who elected me? Did you elect me as president? I got my votes — a substantial one — to make me a credible president,” he went on.
Duterte did not attend any engagements the past week, with Malacañang officials saying it was a precaution being taken because some members of the Presidential Security Group had tested positive for COVID-19.
His disappearance became the talk of the town, with people speculating that he was in bad health, which was why he had to cancel his briefing twice in just one week.
Sen. Bong Go, the president’s longtime aide, posted photos of Duterte playing golf and riding a motorbike to debunk rumors about the leader’s health.
De Lima dismissed this, however, as a mere coverup of the president’s true fitness to lead.
An appeal to Bong Go: Stop covering up for your boss and misleading us on his true capacity to lead. No one is really in charge.
Marami nang namatay. Marami pang nagkakasakit. Tigilan na ang panlilinlang. Halatang-halata na kayo!
— Leila de Lima (@SenLeiladeLima) April 12, 2021
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