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Former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez

Alvarez not blaming Duterte in saying gov't pandemic response a 'failure'


Former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Tuesday clarified that he is not blaming President Rodrigo Duterte when he said that the government has failed to properly handle the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Wala, wala. Sinasabi ko lang as a citizen, personal ko 'yun. Sa tingin ko, failure," Alvarez, who currently represents the first district of Davao Del Norte, said in an interview when asked if he was blaming the President over the issue.

"Hindi ko alam kung personally siya (Duterte) talaga 'yung nag-handle, o merong group of people na nagha-handle. Ang sinasabi ko lang, nakikita ko, 'yung handling per se is really a failure," he added.

Alvarez first made the remark in the August 28 episode of his radio program "CPDA Aksyon Agad!"

In the same episode, he also reportedly said that the next President of the country should not only be courageous, but also with "brains."

Alvarez stood by what he said, pointing out that the number of COVID-19 cases in the country is going up instead of going down.

"I do not know how you call it other than failure so kaya ko sinabi ‘yan. Kailangan nating tanggapin e," he said.

"Kung there is something wrong, e siguro kailangan nating ma-correct. Ang haba na nito e," he added.

Alvarez admitted that he does not know where the problem is coming from, but he believes the government should reassess its approach in responding to the pandemic.

"Tutal, marami naman sila eh, so many minds to contribute. I-reassess nila kung ano ang tamang approach para bumaba 'yung COVID positive at makaumpisa tayo sa COVID recovery," he said.

Alvarez served as Speaker of the House during the first and second regular session of the 17th Congress from 2016 to 2018.

He was removed from his position in a surprise coup d'etat staged by House members on the day of President Rodrigo Duterte's third State of the Nation Address in July 2018, and replaced by former President and then Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. —KG, GMA News

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