MANILA - (UPDATED) Losing senatorial bet Sandra Cam denied Monday that she boasted about an impending appointment to the Duterte Cabinet when she was not accorded VIP perks at the country's main airport last February 11.
Cam gained public ire over the weekend after the Inquirer reported that she allegedly threw curses at a Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) worker who failed to recognize her and know why she was in the VIP lounge.
The report said Cam allegedly threatened to have the NAIA worker sacked from her job while hinting about a supposed Cabinet post in the offing and even dropping the name of President Duterte's executive assistant, Christopher Go.
An indignant Cam however insisted that the news story, which quoted an official incident report, was "a big, big lie."
"It's not true that I made yabang because I'm not mayabang. I'm a very simple person whose heart is really for the poor, the needy and those that have been oppressed," she told ABS-CBN News Channel in a phone call from Abu Dhabi.
Cam explained that a NAIA policeman escorted her to a VIP lounge before her flight to Masbate out of fear for her safety.
She said she was in the middle of a phone call when a female employee mistook her for a government employee and "rudely" asked to see her ID so they could fill out a "meet and assist" form.
"What I said exactly is that instead of having me present to you a government ID, you wait until 2 months, I will be joining the government and I'm sure that I can give you the government ID that you need," Cam continued.
Cam declined to confirm her supposedly impending government appointment, but said instead: "People who know me, even my own family, they don't even know what position I will be getting in this government."
She added that though she shouted at the NAIA worker, it is not true that she threatened to have the worker sacked from her job.
"What I said is, 'You are not supposed to be in this job because you do not know how to handle people. You are so young but you are so rude,'" she said.
Cam also said she refused to pay P1,200 for using the VIP lounge because she only stayed in the "very small" room for 20 minutes and was not even offered any refreshment.
The Manila International Airport Authority, meanwhile, said employees involved in Cam's flare-up "exercised prudence in handling the incident, bearing in mind that public service transcends all types of situations in the workplace."
Duterte on Saturday said he was willing to offer Cam a government in exchange for her help in his presidential campaign. He said the airport incident would not affect his decision to consider hiring her.
Cam, president of the Whistleblowers Association of the Philippines, is a fierce critic of Senator Leila De Lima, Duterte's political nemesis.
Cam helped secure the arrest of suspected drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, who testified that he gave millions in drug payoffs to De Lima's former driver, Ronnie Dayan, in exchange for protection for his illegal activities.
De Lima said Cam must not be given a government post but instead be investigated for alleged involvement in swindling, illegal gambling and the narcotics trade.