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Palace denies Duterte attacking Isko Moreno

Malacañang on Tuesday denied that President Rodrigo Duterte attacked Manila Mayor Isko Moreno when the former questioned the moral ascendancy of someone, who has sexy photos, to lead the country.

“Hindi ko alam bakit nilalabas mo ang pangalan ni Isko Moreno. Hindi ko alam na siya ang nakapose roon [ng sexy],” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said when asked why the President made the statement when he appointed Moreno as undersecretary for the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) back in 2018.

During Monday night's Talk to the People, Duterte said: “Kayong mga Pilipino, huwag kayong magpaloko diyan sa mga padrama magsalita pati kung...nakita ko nga sa Facebook kanina, lahat nang nakabikini ang g*** tapos may isang picture pa doon na sinisilip niya 'yung ari niya. Iyan ang gusto ninyo? Ang training, parang call boy. Iyan ang training ng presidente, maghubad at magpa-picture at magsilip, magyabang sa kanilang ari.”

(Filipinos should not be fooled with theatrics...I saw it on Facebook, that bikini wearing, peeking at his private part. Is that what you want? Somebody whose training is like a call boy? A training for a president who strips naked and be photographed boasting about his private part?)

Duterte did not mention any name but Moreno, Francisco Domagoso in real life, is a former model for undergarments and an actor long before he was elected to public office.

The Manila mayor is ranking second to third in pre-election polls on possible 2022 presidential bets.

Pressed why the President is coming after morals when he admitted to molesting their household help when he was a teenager, Roque skirted the question and instead said Duterte never posed for a sexy photo.

“Ewan ko po, pero wala pong mga ganoong larawan ang Presidente,” Roque said.

“He never posed for pictures like that, let us leave it at that. It is not for me to say,” he added.

Asked how the appointment of Mocha Uson, a former sexy performer, as assistant secretary at the Presidential Communciations Operations Office and later as deputy administrator of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) does not run counter on the President’s call for moral ascendancy, Roque said he was not aware of the entertainer-turned-blogger's past.

“Ang ini-issue lang niya is ano ang moral ascendancy nitong taong ‘to para mamuno ‘no. Si Mocha Uson, well, na-appoint po iyan pero hindi ko naman po alam kung ano talaga nakaraan ni Mocha Uson ‘no sa totoo lang po ‘no. Ang sinasabi ko lang is the President gave her a second chance and I think she took advantage of the second chance,” Roque said.

(The issue being raised is the moral ascendancy of the person to lead. Mocha Uson was appointed but I don’t really know about her past. The President gave her a second chance and she took advantage of it.)

“Pero iyong konteksto po ng sinasabi ni Presidente kagabi, ang narinig ko lang naman po is ito ba ang gusto ninyo. So iyon lang po, it’s a question, it’s a bending question to the sambayanan (But the context of what the President is saying is, is this the kind of leader you want? That is a question for the people),” he added.

Likewise, Duterte's spokesperson denied that the President stripped the Manila local government of authority to distribute cash aid to lockdown affected communities amid COVID-19 pandemic due to supposed incompetence.

“Hindi nabanggit ng Presidente [kung sino] (He did not specify who is it). As a spokesperson, I cannot add to that. I will have to leave it at that,” he said.

“I leave the decision to DILG and DSWD kasi sila ang inutusan (It is up to Department of Interior and Local Government and the Deparment of Social Welfare and Development to implement the aid distribution since they are the ones tasked to do it),” Roque added.

Duterte said Monday night that he instructed the DILG and DSWD to take over the cash distribution duties of a 'certain LGU' due to lack of organization.

Earlier in the day, the DILG said it has not received any instructions yet from the Malacañang regarding the stripping of the cash aid distribution duty of a certain local government unit.—AOL, GMA News