President Duterte has set his crosshairs on a new senator–Liberal Party (LP) President Francis Pangilinan.
During the “Talk to the People” public briefing late Wednesday night, Sept. 22, Duterte castigated the opposition senator for dwelling on technicalities in the government’s procurement of medical supplies amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The President noted how Pangilinan brought up the matter of the “effectivity date” of
Republic Act (RA) No. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act in the continuation of the Senate’s inquiry on alleged corruption in the purchase of the medical supplies.
“Anong klaseng senador ka? Mag-debate ng technicalities habang mayroong global pandemic (What kind of a senator are you? Debating about technicalities while there is a global pandemic).You know, you do not go into such trivial matters,” Duterte said.
“As long as the property, the money of the Republic was — well, protected and that the — the goods that we bought reach to their intended beneficiaries. Iyon lang ang atin (That’s what we care about),” he said.
The Bayanihan to Heal as One Act or Bayanihan I was enacted in March 2020, the same month that the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the pandemic. The law allowed for the expedited procurement of COVID-related supplies as the Philippines struggled to cope with the initial wave of infections.
Duterte recalled that 17 doctors and nurses died from COVID-19 during that initial surge last year.
“Tingnan ninyo itong si Pangilinan, habang nasa krisis tayo nagmamadali dahil marami ang namamatay na ng mga Pilipino at nagkaroon pa ng gana magtanong ng effectivity ng Bayanihan I (Look at Pangilinan, we were in crisis and rushing a response to the Filipinos who were dying and he still had the temerity to ask about the effectivity of Bayanihan 1),” Duterte said.
“Magsasali ka pa para marinig ka lang. Marami kayong dapat wala diyan (You just participated in the probe so you could be heard. There are a lot of you who shouldn’t be there). Eh Pangilinan, you should not be there. You have not contributed any — any meaningful legislation sa ating bayan (to our country),” added the obviously irate Chief Executive.
Duterte also scratched his head over Pangilinan’s asking of questions about Bayanihan I, when it was Congress that passed it. Philippine Congress has two legislative chambers–the House of Representatives and the Senate, where Pangilinan is a member.
“Bakit mo ako tanungin? Bakit mo kami tanungin? Bakit hindi mo tanungin ang sarili mo, kayo ang gumawa ng batas? Ano ka ba? (Why are you asking me? Why are you asking us? Why don’t you ask yourselves since you created the law? What’s wrong with you?) What’s so — what’s eating you guy? What’s the beef? Kayo ang gumawa (You are the legislators) then you should know how to interpret it, baka nagkamali kami (maybe we were wrong),” he said.
Duterte still went on to read the provision of the law on effectivity (Section IX), stating, “This act shall take effect immediately upon its publication in the Official — in the newspaper of general circulation or in the Official Gazette and shall be in full force and effect only for three months, unless extended by Congress, provided that the powers granted under this act may be withdrawn sooner or by means of a concurrent resolution of Congress or ended by the Presidential proclamation.”
The President subsequently commented: “Pero kahit hindi pa effective ‘yan, bibilhin na natin para ang supply nandiyan at hindi tayo maunahan at medyo (But even if it was not yet effective, we would still purchase the supplies so that we won’t get left behind)— well, we can reduce the deaths of the persons who were vulnerable, ‘yung delikado ‘yung trabaho (those whose jobs endanger their lives).”
The supplies included personal protective equipment or PPEs, as well as face shields.