Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon on Tuesday admitted he was surprised at President Duterte’s tirades against him during the latter’s fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA), saying the attacks against him were more detailed than the government’s plan on how to overcome the COVID-19 crisis.
“Hindi ko inaakala dahil sa maliwanag naman na noong kinampihan ko ang ABS-CBN, iyon po ay dahil sa aking tingin, hindi tama at masama ang dating para sa ating press freedom, (I didn’t expect it because it was clear that when I sided with ABS-CBN, it was because I believe it wasn’t right and it set off a negative impression on our press freedom),” said Drilon in an interview over TeleRadyo.
“I have been hearing SONA for the last several years. This is the first SONA where I was the introduction and I was the conclusion,” Drilon said in a separate interview with CNN.
“I was surprised. I did not expect it. But I stand for what I believe is necessary. I believe that the franchise should not have been terminated and ABS-CBN should have been allowed to continue broadcasting especially at this time of pandemic. There were precedents in the past that we allowed a franchise to continue while it was being heard in Congress,” he said.
Drilon said he believes the President singled him out precisely because he erroneously thought he was attacking members of his family when he disclosed his position regarding political dynasty.
“But that position that I have in the political dynasty was already there even before he became President. That is because I believe that indeed, dynasty would be good for our system of democracy,” he said.
According to Drilon, he waited to hear the President outline his comprehensive plan for the country which has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and how he plans to stimulate the economy and strengthen the health system.
He said he is dismayed not to hear any of it. “But the attacks against me were detailed though,” he said in a separate interview with ANC Headstart.
“We have not heard, for example, how do we strengthen our health system so that when a similar pandemic occurs in the future we are prepared to handle it? We have seen how inadequate our health system is. Today, we have over 80,000 of our countrymen afflicted with the ailment and nearly 2,000 already died by the end of the month,” he said.
“I would have wanted to hear how the President wants to strengthen our health system in order that we can better cope up when it again occurs in the future,” he added.