MANILA – Members of the opposition are becoming “desperate” to make a lot of noise ahead of the 2022 elections by finding fault in the Duterte administration’s coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic response efforts, Malacañang said Wednesday.
In an online press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte’s critics seemed to be trying so hard to besmirch his administration to avoid a repeat of another defeat in next year’s elections.
“Matatapos lang po iyan sa eleksiyon. Desperado po ang oposisyon. Gumagawa ng isyu laban sa administrasyon, maski hindi naman po magre-reelection ang ating Presidente (Their rants will only end after elections. The opposition is so desperate. They are making up issues against the administration, even if the President is not seeking reelection),” he said.
Roque issued the statement, after Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, vice chairman of the opposition Liberal Party (LP), questioned the purchase of the allegedly “overpriced” personal protective equipment (PPEs) worth PHP3.82 billion.
Roque denied that the PPEs bought by the current administration were overpriced, saying the government’s procurement was consistent with existing laws such as Republic Act (RA) 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act and RA 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.
He then turned the tables on Drilon, telling the senator to explain the decision of his allies from the Aquino administration to purchase PPEs worth above PHP3,000 each in 2015 and 2016.
Roque said it is unfortunate that members of the opposition are throwing dirt on the Duterte government, even if they are the ones who have had anomalous deals in the past.
“Bakit mo pupulaan ang administrasyong Duterte na sa panahon ng pandemya ay bumili ng kaparehong PPE (Why would you criticize the Duterte administration amid the pandemic if [the past administration] also bought the same PPE),” he said.
Roque told the public not to get swayed by Duterte’s detractors who are politicizing the government’s Covid-19 pandemic response efforts.
“Pero siguro ginagawa nila ito para hindi ma-Otso Diretso ang kanilang mga senador ngayong taon na ito (Perhaps, they are doing it to make sure that their senatorial bets would not suffer the same fate Otso Diretso had experienced),” he said. “Huwag po tayong magpadala sa mga pulitikong maagang namumulitika (Do not get swayed by politicians who are politicizing already).”
Roque was referring to the opposition’s “Otso Diretso” senatorial slate who suffered a crushing defeat in the 2019 midterm elections after failing to secure even a single seat at the Senate.
In his prerecorded Talk to the People delivered Monday night but aired Tuesday morning, Duterte advised Filipino voters not to reelect lawmakers who are using their position ahead of the 2022 elections just to “boast”. (PNA)