By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Government officials have no right to insult Filipinos unless they opt to step down from their posts, opposition Senator Leila de Lima said on Saturday.
De Lima made the statement as she reiterated her call for Special Envoy to China Ramon Tulfo to resign following his “lazy” remarks against Filipino construction workers.
The detained lawmaker said Tulfo “owes his power” to the Filipinos “he chose to insult and ridicule.” She also hit Malacañang for supposedly defending the appointed official.
“Instead of firing Mon Tulfo, Malacañang defends him as a public official entitled to his own opinion. This is the usual response of Malacañang to insults and offensive remarks of Duterte copycats in government,” De Lima, who chairs the Senate committee on social justice, said in her latest dispatch.
“These Duterte wannabes may be entitled to their own opinions. But as long as they are being paid by Filipino taxpayers, they have no right insulting Filipinos,” she added.
De Lima reminded Tulfo that he is no longer a newspaper columnist, and he should separate his private persona from his public position. She said Tulfo, as Special Envoy to China, should also advance Filipino interests and not defend the Chinese “takeover” of Philippine jobs.
“We could have let this pass if it was only Mon Tulfo the columnist talking. After all, we were already used to his blunt language as an opinionated observer who specialized in anecdotal wisdom. But this is already Mon Tulfo the Special Envoy to China, talking. This is already the public official, who draws his salary from government funds, funds that come from taxes paid by the same workers he attacks and vilifies as lazy,” she said.
She maintained that Tulfo should resign from his post if he cannot apologize over his “insulting” remarks.
“If Mon Tulfo cannot stop insulting Filipinos or apologize for his offensive and baseless remarks against them, he should just resign. Otherwise, he would just be another free-loader with nothing to show for his plum government position,” she said.
Tulfo drew flak after he said Chinese employees “are better” than their Filipino counterparts.
Despite this, he refused to apologize. “Why should I apologize to you for telling the truth that you’re basically lazy and a slowpoke?” Tulfo posted on Twitter.