MANILA — Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi on Thursday said it was sad that allies would accuse him of prioritizing politics over power supply woes that caused rotational brownouts in Luzon island this week.
Sen. Manny Pacquiao, president of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), earlier said Cusi, the party vice chair, had prioritized leading a meeting of the party on Monday, instead of addressing the brownouts that started the same day.
"Nagkataon nga po 'yon na nagkaroon ng aberya, those power plants broke down, na nagkataon naman po, natiyempo na we have a meeting in Cebu. But it doesn’t mean na napapabayaan po. I am not the only guy running DOE (Department of Energy)," said Cusi, vice president of PDP-Laban.
(It just so happened that there was this problem, the plants broke down, at the same time that we have a meeting in Cebu. But it does not mean we neglected this.)
"We’re aware of our responsibilities. Ginagampanan po natin iyan nang sa lubos nating kakayahan. Nakakalungkot po na nanggaling pa ‘yon sa aking party-mates," he said in a Palace briefing.
(We fulfill that to the utmost of our ability. It it sad that that came from my party mates.)
Pacquiao on Wednesday said if he were the president, he would have fired Cusi over the power interruptions.
To this, Cusi said: "We serve at the pleasure of the President."
Cusi, Pacquiao and President Rodrigo Duterte are all PDP-Laban stalwarts.
The PDP-Laban meeting in Cebu concluded with an agreement to urge Duterte to run for vice president and choose his running mate in the 2022 elections.
Pacquiao earlier chided PDP-Laban members who urged Duterte to run as vice president in the 2022 elections, following suggestions that his daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio should gun for the presidency.
Duterte-Carpio topped a recent survey on most preferred presidential candidates, while Pacquiao trailed at fourth place. Pacquiao is known to also be eyeing the presidency.
The Duterte patriarch, 76, is not eligible for re-election. He has repeatedly denied that his daughter would run in the 2022 presidential race.
"Iyong (the) Duterte-Duterte [tandem], that is something that we need to really study, and we cannot answer whether it’s good or not good at the moment," said Cusi.