‘Mr. President, you are boring. Do your worst,’ Gordon says as Duterte keeps up tirades
Gordon, chair of the Senate blue ribbon committee, challenged Duterte to do what he had threatened to do, as he had supposedly done to his perceived enemies.
“Mr. President, you are boring. Do your worst, as you did with the ABS-CBN. Do your worst, like what you did to an elected senator,” Gordon said, alluding to the giant news network that was shut down in 2019 and to Sen. Leila de Lima, who is detained on the testimony of convicted drug lords.
Gordon was reacting to Duterte’s fresh tirades during his Monday public address, in which he ordered the investigation of “false positives” supposedly resulting from the COVID-19 tests conducted by the Philippine Red Cross, which the senator also chairs.
Duterte had threatened to dig up dirt on Gordon and the Red Cross, which, he said, needed to be audited.
The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine of the Department of Health ( DOH) is now looking into the matter, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in his briefing on Tuesday.
“It’s in the [testing] machines. You have to test the accuracy of the machines. And that is being done as we speak,” Roque said.
‘Lawyering for Chinese’
Gordon made his remarks against the president in his opening statement at the resumption of the Senate inquiry into the alleged misuse of up to P67.3 billion lodged with the DOH for pandemic response.
“Do you think you can scare me? I am scared of God but not of man; I am scared but I am not a coward,” he said. “You’re a bully. The Filipino people can fight back against bullies.”
Gordon assailed Duterte for supposedly using his TV program to defend the Chinese linked to up to P11 billion worth of transactions to supply the government face masks and shields, personal protective equipment, RT-PCR test kits, and other pandemic supplies.
“Again, Attorney Duterte is lawyering for his people — the Chinese. Start lawyering for the Filipino people. Instead of reporting to the people [about the pandemic], he spends the time of this government … to lambast the Senate,” Gordon said.
“Do your job,” the senator said, adding that the President supposedly still had time to play politics when Filipinos were dying daily of COVID-19.
“You have deprived the Filipino people, Mr. President. Why are you venting your ire on the people who are merely doing their job? Weren’t you against corruption?” he said.
Gordon also hit Sagip party-list Rep. Rodante Marcoleta for supposedly backing the president’s claim of “false positives” from Red Cross RT-PCR tests.
“Marcoleta would not stop barking. Wasn’t it he who led the demolition of ABS-CBN?” the senator said.
Integrity of tests
Defending the Red Cross against the allegation of inaccuracy, Gordon said it was the government that sought the humanitarian organization’s help in testing.
The Red Cross itself issued a statement attesting to the accuracy of its tests.
“While we strongly stand by the integrity of the positive results issued by our Subic laboratory on the samples, we acknowledge the possibility of false positive results since no test is 100-percent accurate,” the Red Cross said.
It said it had been advised by the DOH to always “err on the side of caution and treat all positive results as true positive.”
“This is designed to protect everyone, including the clients and their families and co-workers. This is especially true for healthcare workers who are constantly at risk of exposure to the virus,” the Red Cross said.
187 of 213
According to Duterte, 187 of 213 (or 87.79 percent) of the Presidential Security Group personnel who were positive in tests conducted by the Red Cross’ Manila Laboratory turned out negative in a confirmatory test in another lab.
He said officials of the Department of Finance reported a similar experience.
He also cited information that in one unnamed hospital, 44 of 49 of the personnel who were positive in Red Cross testing turned out negative in another lab test.
Duterte wondered if there were other undetected instances of false positive results and if their number could have affected the way the government had been planning its pandemic response in the past months.
“Because of this information, then maybe the DOH must investigate this matter. You could be putting more people at risk. You could be falsely adding to the total positive cases per day of this country,” Duterte said.
“How many negatives have been added to the positives in the daily cases and are now included in the number of the many people who have gotten sick? How sure are we now of the veracity of our figures and the truthfulness of the test combined, considering that many go to Red Cross [to get tested]?” he said.
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