By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang asked detained Senator Leila De Lima to keep quiet if she cannot help in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the statement after De Lima questioned President Duterte’s remark that public funds are running out due to the global health crisis and mulled selling government assets to help Filipinos.
In a statement, Panelo said De Lima should shut her mouth if she cannot find a way to help fight COVID-19.
“If she can not help in the government’s efforts to fight COVID-19 she should at least lockdown her mouth,” he said Saturday.
Panelo added that De Lima did not know what she was saying.
“The detained Senator De Lima is blabbering from ignorance. She is not listening to the message of the President. She should read the transcript of his televised message,” he said.
“PRRD didn’t say we have exhausted our funds, he said the funds are not infinite,” he added.
According to De Lima, the public should first be convinced that the government has run out of funds to address the pandemic before even thinking about selling government properties.
“Dapat makumbinse tayo na wala na talagang pera ang gobyerno (We should be convinced that government really has no money left) in the budgets of 2019 and 2020, funds held by GOCCs (government-owned and -controlled corporations) and other agencies, etc., at mga (even) special purpose fund like Malampaya, road users’ fund, etc. to begin contemplating the selling of our assets,” she said.
“Saka nasaan na nga ba ang napakalaking intel funds, baka naman pwedeng magamit din ito (And where are the huge intelligence funds? Perhaps we can use them),” she added, referring to President Duterte’s P4.5-billion intelligence fund for 2020.