By Genalyn Kabiling
If self-proclaimed “president” Elly Pamatong has the supposed solution to the coronavirus pandemic, President Duterte may just give way to his successor.
The President has made light of Pamatong’s claim to the presidency during his public address Monday night, saying he is willing to talk to him about his solution to the country’s health emergency.
“Sabi niya siya lang ang maka — he will solve the problem in three weeks. Eh ‘di sabi niya ang military kailangan arestuhin because nandito ako ready to solve the pandemic that has struck the entire planet Earth and he will solve the problem. Tama (He said he will solve the problem in three weeks. I said the military should arrest me since he is ready to solve the pandemic that struck the entire planet Earth and he will solve the problem. Right),” Duterte said.
“Kung ganoon lang siya, tama. I agree. Kung magpunta siya dito, mag-usap kami. Kung ang solusyon niya okay, and then sabihin ko sa military na, ‘Adre, tama si Pamatong. Alis na ako (If he can do it, fine. I agree. If he comes here, we will talk. If his solution is okay, then I will tell the military, ‘Pamatong is right. I will leave),'” he said in jest.
Pamatong, who claims to be the country’s president, reportedly wanted the military to arrest Duterte and disclosed plans to establish a quarantine island to curb the outbreak of the disease.
Pamatong, who was suspended by the Supreme Court from practicing law, is a frequent nuisance candidate in the elections.
Duterte previously described Pamatong as “pretender to the throne” in 2017 after he proclaimed himself to be the country’s leader.
“Mabuti’t na lang nandiyan si Atty. Pamatong (It’s good that Pamatong is there),” Duterte said.
“Sabi niya diyan sa Facebook ba ‘yan? (It’s a good that Atty. Pamatong is there. He said on Facebook) he declared himself that, ‘I am the duly elected President of the Republic of the Philippines and I am ordering the military to arrest Duterte.’ Tinanong ako ng staff diyan paglabas, ‘Anong masabi mo sa sinabi ni Pamatong?’ Sabi ko, ‘Tama siya. Tama talaga siya (My staff asked me, ‘what can you say about what Pamatong said?’ I said, ‘He’s right. He’s really right,'” he said.
Duterte, struggling to contain the coronavirus outbreak and mitigate its impact on the people, admitted that he is willing to step down if the military says so.
“Sabi ko eh kung totoo ‘yang pinapahirapan ko ‘yung Pilipino, eh anytime po sabihin ni Pamatong bababa na ako at sinabi ng military, ‘Sige, totoo ‘yan. Subukan niya itong three weeks.’ Okay (I said if it’s true I’m making life difficult for Filipinos, anytime Pamatong says, I will step down and the military says, ‘Ok that’s true. He will try it for three weeks,’ Okay,” he said.
In his public address, the President said the government is inclined to extend the Luzon-wide lockdown until the end of April. The enhanced community quarantine, that mandates Luzon residents to stay at home except for essential trips, is supposed to end on April 12.
Duterte also admitted that the government is getting “desperate” amid the insufficient funds for the coronavirus response. He had asked the Department of Finance to look for more sources of funds.