MANILA - Sen. Richard Gordon on Friday said he was not insulted by President Rodrigo Duterte comments against him.
Duterte on Thursday threw a barrage of insults at Gordon after the lawmaker criticized the President's appointments of former military and police officials in his administration.
The President said Gordon “was a fart away from disaster.”
In a statement, Gordon said: “I take no offense at the President’s comments. As I have said, everyone is entitled to an opinion, and we cannot be onion-skinned about such things."
“I will continue to focus on working hard to serve the country and the people. Our goal as public servants is not any higher office, but to remain steadfast in service to ensure that we uplift the lives of our people, and that is what I try to do every day.”
Gordon, chair of the powerful Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, said he made he made his comments about Duterte’s penchant to appoint military men to key government posts “in good faith and out of concern for our country and the President.”
“We have known each other since we were both mayors and believe that we have mutual respect,” Gordon said.
“I also have great respect for the military and the armed forces because they are the protector of the people and the State. However, at the same time, we want to assure the public that we are not militarizing the government.”
Gordon added, although in jest, that he was happy the President also made comments about his physique.
“I am happy that President is concerned about my waistline, but he need not worry about that. My wife has seen to it that I have reduced it significantly of late. But I appreciate that he is concerned about by health as I am about his,” Gordon said.
Duterte has repeatedly defended his decision to appoint men with military background to key government positions, saying they take orders faster than civilian ones.
Among his appointees with military background include Information and Communications Technology Secretary Gregorio Honasan, formerly of the Philippine Army and most recently senator; Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff; Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, former Philippine Army chief; Social Welfare Secretary Rolando Bautista, former Philippine Army chief; Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, former AFP chief of staff; Bureau of Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero, also a former military chief; and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Director-General Isidro Lapeña, a retired Philippine National Police operations chief.