DILG official lashes back at VP camp: ‘You are the burden, not me’

Published April 2, 2021, 11:30 AM

by Chito Chavez

Even on Good Friday, April 2, the feud between Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary for Operations Epimaco Densing and Vice President Leni Robredo’s camp continued as the former shot back at the latter, calling them the real “pabigat” (burden) amid the country’s uphill battle against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.


In an interview Friday, April 2, Densing slammed Vice Presidential Spokesperson Barry Gutierrez, his bashers, and critics for their penchant to “discredit our hard work instead of giving inspiration and encouragement to the people who are working hard to fight the pandemic.”

“Well gumaan nga ang katawan ko dahil kulang ako sa tulog at kain para sa paglaban sa COVID-19 at sa kalalabas at muntik na rin mamatay dahil sa COVID-19 (I lost a lot of weight due to lack of sleep and missed meals to fight COVID-19. Since I am out most of the time, I got infected and nearly died due to COVID-19,” Densing said.

“Sila nga pabigat. Dahil wala silang ginagawa para makatulong sa bayan, tumaba na sila (They are the burden for doing nothing for the country. They just grew fat,” he added.

Critics have claimed that the government bungled big time its response to the pandemic as the situation further deteriorated with the skyrocketing COVID-19 cases in the country that even breached the 10,000 mark single-day tally earlier this week.

With the rising cases, some areas were again placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the most restrictive type of quarantine, to contain the movement of people and the quick transmission of virus.

On March 31, a viral video showed a Grab rider being barred from delivering “lugaw” or rice porridge during curfew hours in Bulacan, with a barangay tanod (village security personnel) insisting that it is non-essential.

Bulacan was placed under ECQ until April 4 along with the National Capital Region, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal (NCR Plus).

Asked about the controversy in an April 1 interview, Densing said that the food “lugaw” is essential but not “si lugaw.” He later confirmed that he was referring to Robredo, who was associated with “lugaw” by her critics for providing food assistance to the poor.

In a tweet, Gutierrez responded that Robredo is an essential person for helping the government’s pandemic fight, and described Densing as a “pabigat” or burden and the one who “epitomizes” the Duterte administration’s COVID-19 response.

“With cases rising, hospitals full, and millions struggling, instead of doing real work, he makes ‘jokes,’ plays politics, and bashes someone who’s actually doing the job they’re supposed to,” Gutierrez wrote in his tweet.

The DILG has since distanced itself from Densing’s controversial “si lugaw” description of Robredo that drew wide public criticisms.

In a GMA News report, DILG undersecretary Jonathan Malaya clarified that Densing’s views are not the official stand of the department.