Duterte clashes with senators to defend ‘innocent’ gov’t execs – Roque
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is trying to find fault in senators investigating the government’s purchase of allegedly overpriced medical supplies to protect the innocent government officials, Malacañang said Monday.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque responded to the question of why the president is preoccupied with criticizing senators when he should be focusing on the pandemic response, with COVID-19 on the rise.
“Walang hupa ang ating COVID response, nakikita niyo naman pataas nang pataas ang ating nababakunahan. Pero importante naman na panindigan ng Presidente ang gobyerno, ang taong gobyerno, lalung lalo na kung sa tingin nya ay wala namang pagkakasalang nagawa,” he said in a Palace briefing.
(Our COVID response is evidenced by the rising number of vaccinated people. But the President needs to stand up for people he believes have done nothing wrong.)
“Kung mayroon talagang corruption dito, sampahan na natin ng kaso at hayaan natin ang Ombudsman na magdesisyon,” he added.
(If there really is corruption, charges should be filed and we should let the Ombudsman handle the case and decide.)
Roque then blamed Senate inquiry for hampering the government’s pandemic response since government officials scheduled a time to meet with senators and answer questions.
“Ang sinasabi lang ni Presidente, yung mga taong dumadalo sa pagpupulong, kasama dyan ang DOH sec, vaccine czar, testing czar, ‘yung oras na nauubos sa pagdalo ng mga pagpupulong na ito ay oras na nauubos sa pagdalo ng mga pagpupulong na ito ay oras na dapat ginugugol sa COVID,” he said.
(The President is saying that the people who are attending these proceedings, their time are wasted on the inquiries, the time they could’ve focused on the pandemic response.)
“So kaya nga natatanggal ang oras at atensyon ng ating opisyales na tutok sa COVID ay dahil sa pagpupulong na ito,” he added.
(So that’s why their time and attention are turned away from the pandemic due to these hearings.)
However, Roque said the President does not have the power to stop the proceedings since the Senate is an independent branch of government.
“Ang pakiusap lang, nasa gitna pa tayo ng pandemya, hayaan natin yung mga taong talagang silang nakatutok sa COVID ay magawa ang kanilang mga katungkulan,” the Palace official said.
(Our appeal is to let government officials tasked with handling the pandemic do their jobs.)
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