Duterte lashes back at Pacquiao, Trillanes | Inquirer News
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Duterte lashes back at Pacquiao, Trillanes

/ 05:34 AM July 08, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has lumped his staunchest critic, former Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, together with Sen. Manny Pacquiao, describing them as men raring to “hold power.”

“Trillanes is the same as Pacquiao. They want to hold power because they must have—they probably saw a good opportunity for them,” Duterte said in a televised public address on Tuesday night.

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This was the President’s response to chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo, who gave him an update on Trillanes’ latest allegations against him as well as his former aide, Sen. Christopher Go.

“Well, I leave Trillanes to you. It’s up to you how to handle him. He is all talk and yet he doesn’t engage in debate,” Duterte told Panelo.

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Earlier this week, Trillanes claimed he had documents to show that Go’s family was awarded over P6 billion worth of government projects under Duterte despite a prohibition for close associates of an elected official to engage in government contracts.

The former senator said he would file a plunder case against the President and Go once they were no longer in office. Go, however, described the allegations as rehashed and old.

Earlier, Pacquiao, the president of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan chaired by Duterte, also accused some government agencies of involvement in anomalies.

The President, however, dismissed his claims and told Pacquiao to do his job as a senator and study foreign policy first, apparently in response to the latter’s criticism of his stance on the West Philippine Sea. Meanwhile, an official of the Department of Energy (DOE) said they would cooperate in any investigation of Pacquiao’s allegations of corruption in the agency.

Energy Assistant Secretary Gerardo Arquiza Jr., however, maintained that there were no irregularities in how the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP) became an independent electricity stock market operator.

‘Ill-advised’

In a Laging Handa public briefing on Wednesday, Arquiza said that Republic Act No. 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act does not have a bidding requirement in choosing an independent market operator. “I think the senator is ill-advised here and he may have lacked research because there is no such thing. This issue has been discussed in a congressional hearing and the DOE explained everything comprehensively and exhaustively. The independent market operator cannot be bid out because it won’t go through the bidding process. There’s no such requirement,” Arquiza said.

“The senator is welcome to substantiate and prove it by presenting his documents. The documents involved here are less than a notebook thick—incorporation papers, the policy, the law. So if his documents are that thick, even if we check each one, it may not be connected to the independent market operator,” he added.

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Arquiza said the DOE was ready to present any document regarding the issue in order to ferret out the truth, adding that they were thankful for the opportunity to shed light on Pacquiao’s claims.

Over the weekend, Pacquiao accused the DOE of authorizing the IEMOP to commence operations with just a capital of P7,000. He claimed the contract was awarded to the IEMOP without a bidding process. INQ

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TAGS: Bong Go, duterte, Pacquiao, Trillanes
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