Go vote for your own president, and good luck.
This was Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque’s message Tuesday, Sept. 7 to what he described as a “small” group of health workers that criticized the Duterte administration’s handling of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The group, dubbed the Medical Action Group (MAG), noted that people in other countries are already leading normal lives while the Philippines continues to grapple with a third wave of COVID-19 infections.
Moreover, the group reckoned that President Duterte and his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio have no right to run for public office in the May 2022 national elections given the administration’s “unsatisfactory” pandemic response.
“Napakahirap yung mga tanong na yan na parang yung mga maliliit na grupo eh yan yung pananaw ng hanay ng buong health workers. Hindi po, isang grupo lang yan (It’s hard to respond to those questions wherein small groups appear to represent the entire fleet of health workers. That’s not the case, that’s just one group),” Roque said.
“They’re entitled to their opinion. Obviously, iba ang presidente nila (they have another president),” he added, alluding to the upcoming presidential polls.
“Pero nirerespeto rin po namin na mayroon pong kakaunti na talagang wala pong mabuting masabi tungkol sa ating Presidente. Hayaan niyo silang bumoto ng kanilang presidential candidate at good luck (But we respect the fact that there are small groups that really can’t say anything good about the President. Let them vote for their own presidential candidate and good luck),” Roque said.
Political pundits speculate that President Duterte and Mayor Duterte-Carpio will vie for the vice presidency and presidency, respectively, in the 2022 polls. However, the elder Duterte has been inconsistent in his remarks about a possible vice presidential bid, while his daughter has not given any solid details about her political plans.
The two Dutertes remain popular political figures in the country amid the public health crisis.
Referring to frontline healthcare workers in general, Roque said: “Mahirap po talaga ang buhay ng medical frontliners ngayon dahil hindi pa humuhupa ang pandemya at nagpapakita naman po tayo ng pasasalamat at utang ng loob sa kanila (It’s hard to be a medical frontliner these days because the pandemic has yet to subside. Despite this we show our appreciation and gratitude to them).