Panelo takes swipe at 'ungrateful' Imee Marcos

Published June 19, 2021, 2:28 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo is disappointed with an administration senator following her reported criticisms of the Duterte administration’s vaccination program.

President Rodrigo Duterte talks to former Ilocos Norte Governor and now Senator Imee Marcos while attending a church ceremony in Manila in this file photo dated September 16, 2016. (Malacañang)

Panelo hit back at Senator Imee Marcos for supposedly being ungrateful even after President Duterte endorsed her senatorial bid in 2019 and allowed the burial of her father, the late President Ferdinand Marcos, at the heroes’ cemetery.

The Palace official did not name the senator during his commentary program Friday but mentioned the “sister” of former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. in hitting back at some lawmakers trying to find fault in the government’s vaccine rollout during a recent Senate hearing. Unlike her brother, the senator seemed to be ungrateful after becoming critical of the government’s actions, according to Panelo.

“Kayo naman eh makakita lang kayo ng ma-i-issue eh hindi ninyo mai-lockdown ‘yung mga bibig ninyo. Isa pa ‘yan. Isa pa itong kapatıd ni Bongbong. Mahilig din (When you find an issue, you can’t put your mouths on lockdown. Here’s another one, the sister of Bongbong who is also eager),” Panelo said during his “Counterpoint” program Friday, June 18.

“Hindi man kagaya sa kapatid niya na tahimik lang, nagtatrabaho lang siya. Tumutulong sa pamahalan pero yung kapatid niyang babae, hindi natin malaman kung ano diskarte nito parang hindi marunong tumanaw ito ng utang na loob (She is not like her brother who is just quietly working, helping the government. But with his sister, we can’t understand her move. It seems she does not know repay a debt of gratitude),” he added.

READ: Imee: High jab hesitancy is the problem, not vaccine budget

Panelo then listed down what Marcos supposedly owed to the President. He resented that the senator appeared to join the President’s rivals critical of his every move.

“Maraming kontra sa paglilibing kay Presidente Marcos pero si Presidente Duterte aba hindi ilibing natin yan’ (Many people were opposed to the burial of President Marcos but President allowed his burial),” he said, referring to the 2016 burial of the late dictator at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

“Pagkatapos tumakbong senador, isinama, lumabas pero ngayon pinupulaan ang pamahalaan, yung mga galaw nito. Sumasali siya doon sa mga kalaban ni Presidente Duterte (When she ran for senator, she was included in the slate and won but now she’s criticizing the government, its actions. She is joining the enemies of the President),” he added.

Panelo asked the help of Fernando Borja, the President’s special envoy to Japan, to talk to his friend the senator and ask what she was up to.

“Tatakbo ba ‘yan? Ano ba tatakbuhan niyan eh bagong halal ‘yan. Ano ba bakit masyadong nagpapapapel yata ‘yan? (Will she run? Which post will she seek when she was newly elected? Why is she trying to seek attention?)” he asked.

In a recent statement, Marcos urged the government to craft “clearer strategies” to boost vaccination efforts, saying economic recovery will be “choppy” if the country is unable to attain herd immunity. Marcos, chair of the Senate economic affairs committee, also asked the government’s pandemic task force to prepare a “Plan B” in case vaccine suppliers are unable to deliver this year.

Panelo explained that the government’s vaccine rollout was “okay” so far. He insisted that it was not the government’s fault if there is any delay in the vaccine delivery, adding this was up to the vaccine suppliers.

The country has already received more than 14 million doses of coronavirus vaccines but the inoculation program has been sluggish. In a race to vaccinate 70 million people to attain herd immunity, around 2 million people have so far been fully vaccinated. The country’s vaccination efforts have been affected by concerns on the world’s tight supply and local vaccine hesitancy.