‘What are you afraid of?’ asks Gordon as he fights back against Duterte’s threat
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Richard Gordon fought back against President Rodrigo Duterte after the latter threatened to jail senators if they cite Cabinet officials for contempt during an ongoing Senate investigation into the government’s pandemic-related purchases.
“What are you afraid of, Mr. President?” Gordon said in a statement Thursday.
“Last night, what we saw is a wild man threatening those who seek the truth behind the massive corruption plaguing his administration. He desperately tries to hide his fear because our people are now realizing how they have been fooled all these years,” he added.
“Even as you go low, I will never stoop down to your level. It is when you intimidate us and show your own weakness that I am more emboldened to expose your lies and to bring back the money that rightfully belongs to the Filipino people,” he further said.
The Senate, particularly Gordon, has been at the receiving end of tirades from the President as the blue ribbon committee continues to look into the allegedly overpriced purchases made by the government last year.
But Gordon said Duterte’s “incessant and vicious attacks” can be viewed as the President being “so afraid that the Senate investigation will reach the doors of his official residence once we release our partial interim report.”
“I cannot, however, allow you to intimidate me or anyone of us. When you threaten to harm any member of the Senate in our performance of our sworn duties, you attack and undermine the Senate as an institution mandated to check your excesses and abuses,” the senator said.
“Unlike you, we owe our loyalty to the Filipino people who trust us,” he added.
Gordon also said the Senate blue ribbon committee would remain focused in its investigation despite numerous “tantrums and threats” hurled against it.
“No amount of tantrums and threats will ever distract us from pursuing our investigation on who profited from the taxpayers’ money meant to provide ayuda for our people, buy our vaccines, build more hospitals, save our jobs, and bail us out of recession,” he said.
Gordon reiterated that the President should stop “defending and protecting” his men and instead focus on resolving the impact of the pandemic and corruption on Filipinos.
“Mr. Duterte, go out to where our people are suffering, looking for jobs, are getting sick, and their loved ones dying due to the pandemic,” Gordon said.
The senator further questioned Duterte’s seeming fixation on him.
“Mr. Duterte, it is not a fight between us…If you are bothered with your waning popularity, you should look around and maybe; you might find the answers,” the senator said.
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