President Rodrigo Duterte slammed Senator Richard Gordon over what he claims is the senator’s seven-hour “talkathon” in the last Senate blue ribbon committee investigation into the alleged overpriced pandemic supplies.
In a taped public address aired Tuesday morning, Duterte advised the public not to re-elect congressmen and senators who are allegedly using their position to “show off" their knowledge.
“Makita mo si Gordon sa mga TV, sa committee hearing marami ang congressman [senador] pag roll call. Dahan-dahan yan mawala kasi si Gordon ang champion noon… Siya ang nanalo sa talkathon,” Duterte said.
“Kanya ang tanong, kanya ang sagot at siya ang mgasabi kung mali ka o hindi,” he added.
At one point, Duterte tagged Gordon as a German interrogator from the Nazi.
“Seven hours bugbugin mo ng tanong mawawala talaga ‘yan,” he said. “Baliktarin ka nang baliktarin hanggang yung pati si Lao, natutulala.”
Duterte was referring to resigned Budget Undersecretary Christopher Lloyd Lao, who headed the Department of Budget and Management Procurement Service when the government purchased the alleged overpriced face masks and face shield. The overpricing was flagged by the Commission on Audit in its 2020 annual audit report.
“The guy wants to talk and show to the world that he is a bright boy. Wala namang question 'yan parehas tayong abugado parehas tayong pumasa sa bar. Iisa lang naman yan pero iba ka ‘dre,” he said.
The President questioned the results of the past Senate investigations anew.
“Sino napakulong niya sa anomalya ng gobyerno? Sino?” Duterte asked.
In last Friday’s Senate hearing on the overpriced pandemic supplies, Gordon had enumerated some of the results of previous Senate blue ribbon hearings on various issues.
The President also launched personal attacks against Gordon and told the broadcasting staff not to cut his ad hominem statement.
“Ang advise ko sa iyo, magpapayat ka muna para medyo.. nalilipong ako pag tinitingnan kita p--ang— ‘Wag mo putulin yan ah totoo ‘yan,” he said.
“‘Yang Gordon na yan, alisin na ninyo na sa ano... Pahinga ka na lang at magturo ka na lang ng voice and diction pati grammar pati how to talk and not be understood at all,” Duterte further said at one point in his address.
Duterte likewise hit Senator Panfilo Lacson, saying the latter claimed that only select senators can ask for the resignation of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.
“Si Ping naman sila dalawa ni Gordon nag-usap…about Duque resigning…Pumasok naman to si Ping “‘Di ba tayo lang puwede ang puwede magpa-resign ng si Duque?’” Duterte claimed.
“Ping, anybody can demand your resignation miski na ice cream vendor depende na lang kung sasagot ka hindi,” he told the senator.
Duterte warned Lacson that there are information that will be floated in the coming days.
He mentioned issues connected to cements and dismissed Senior Superintendent Eduardo Acierto, who had previously accused former presidential adviser Michael Yang of being involved in the illegal drug trade.
Lacson, in a statement, said the insults hurled against them by Duterte only shows that the latter is in panic mode over the Senate’s investigation.
“It is not difficult to think that he is in panic mode and is attempting, as he has already done earlier, to discourage the Senate from pursuing our investigation in the highly anomalous procurement of overpriced medical supplies that is starting to knock on the doors of Malacañang,” he said.
He said the Senate will continue with its investigations and “will not flinch on this one.”
In the last Senate hearing on the overpriced face masks, Gordon played an RTVM footage showing Yang and Duterte having a meeting with Pharmally officials, the company being linked to the overpricing controversy.
Duterte has defended Yang, saying the Chinese businessman has been conducting business in the country for around two decades.
Lao is currently in hot water over the issue of highly-priced face masks and face shields procured by the Department of Budget and Management Procurement Service which he headed since 2019 until early this year.
Among the issues raised was the awarding of P8.68 billion contract for the procurement of face masks and face shields to Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp—a firm that has P625,000 paid-up capital.
Lawmakers also wondered how Lao was appointed to high-level posts when he was still in government and how he was given airtime by the state-owned PTV to explain himself when he was already in the private sector.
In the latter part of his speech, Duterte implied that senators, including his ally, Senator Imee Marcos, were politicking.
“Tingnan niyo ang mga senador, tingnan mo magsalita sila kiya-kiya, Panfilo Lacson, Imee Marcos. I understand from where you come from wala naman akong ano sa inyo. Never had any connection. Wala akong political even the least pagtakbo ko ng presidente wala kayo. Totoo lang wala tayong koneksyon sa ano,” he said.
“Kay eleksyon… maaga ang banatan e. So yung iba may tinatago, lalabas din itong lahat. Kung labasan lang naman edi ilabas na natin lahat. Baka sabihin ng mga tao kayo lang ang marunong,” he added.
Turning back to Lacson again, Duterte questioned the lawmaker’s integrity, saying he will reveal an information in his next public address.
“To be honest, really, tanungin ko si Panfilo Lacson. Are you honest? Answer me truthfully. Are you honest? Kay kung magsabi ka ng ‘yes’ sasagutin kita next program may ipakita ako,” he said.
“You do not have the ascendancy to question the Executive’s prerogative. Of course I will appoint people I know and trust just like other presidents before me,” he went on.
Duterte justified his appointment to Lao and Atty. Samuel Dagpin, chairperson of the Governance Commission for GOCCs. He said Lao and Dagpin are both his “fraternal brothers” and members of his campaign team in 2016.
Both of them have assisted Davao City mayor’s office with legal matters and concerns, Duterte added.
“Ano ang masama kung magbayad ako ng utang magtanong kayo, ‘saan ba galing itong tao?’ Bakit kayo? HIndi kayo nagtulong sa mga taong nagka-utang ng loob? Hindi kayo nagpuwesto ng mga tao nung nanalo kayo? Ako ganon rin,” Duterte said.
He dared the senators to jail, even his frat brothers, if they found them committing any irregularities. “I do not really care if they are my fraternal brothers. Wala sa usapan na ipuwesto ko sila na magnakaw….Ipakulong ninyo bilib ako sa inyo pag mapakulong ninyo.”
Duterte likewise recalled Gordon’s previous statement questioning the president’s fondness of appointing military men. “Ikaw Gordon, do you remember giving a statement? Sabi mo ‘Yang si Duterte probinsyano kasi kaya kailangan military kasi yan lang ang kilala lang niya, ‘yung na-assign doon sa Mindanao.’”
“Probinsyano ako. Wala ako kilala. Kilala kita pero wala akong kilala [dito]. So, sino ang kunin ko? Edi ‘yung mga tao galing sa probinsya ko. Loko-loko ka pala e,” he added. “Gusto mo pag-upo ko sa opisina ko mag-appoint ak lahat taga-Olongapo?” Gordon’s bailiwick is Olongapo City.
“Magtino ka nga, Gordon,” he went on. — RSJ/AOL, GMA News