'Ang cheap': Duterte slams Gordon for plastering his face on Red Cross ambulances

President Duterte has criticized Senator Richard Gordon for his apparent penchant for decorating ambulances of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) with images of his face.

President Rodrigo Duterte (left) and Senator Richard Gordon (Photos from Malacañang/ MANILA BULLETIN)

"Actually it's a cheap political gimmick," Duterte said of this tactic during his taped "Talk to the People" public briefing late Wednesday night, Sept. 22.

Gordon chairs the PRC, an international aid organization. The President has been pushing for the government audit of PRC on the basis that it is enjoying funding from both the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).

"Sir, may itanong lang ako sa iyo. Iyong mga ambulansya mo ba, may mukha kang naka-plaster diyan? (Sir I have a question for your. Does your ambulances have your face plastered on it?)" Duterte asked Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III during the two-hour briefing.

"Wala po, sir. Hindi po natin gawain 'yun, sir. Masama po 'yun (No sir. We don't do that, sir. That's bad)," answered Duque, who joined the proceedings virtually.

"Eh bakit 'yung kay Gordon sa Red Cross, mayroong mukha niya naka-display? Paano 'yan? (But why do the ambulances from Red Cross under Gordon display his face? How about that?) How do you explain?" Duterte asked rhetorically.

President Duterte (left) converses with DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III during the public briefing Wednesday night, Sept. 22 (Screenshot from Facebook live)

"Hindi ko po masagot, sir (I can't answer that sir)," Duque replied with a grin.

Given this unsavory political gimmick, the Chief Executive questioned why it was him that Gordon looked down upon in the past for being a "cheap politician from the province".

"I'm wondering why ako na ngayon ang naging cheap politician na itong isang bright boy sa Olongapo, iyong mukha niya, iyong mga ambulansya niya, nandiyan 'yung mukha niya. Hindi naman siya pangit. Medyo tisoy nga (I'm wondering why I became the cheap politician when this bright boy from Olongapo has his face plastered on his ambulances. But he isn't ugly. He's actually fair-skinned)," Duterte said.

Duterte and Gordon have been trading barbs the past few weeks over issues of corruption in government at the time of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Duterte has previously accused Gordon of using PRC as his milking cow during election season,