'Atupagin ang problema ng bayan': Roxas tells Duterte to stop using critics as scapegoat

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 25 2021 05:10 PM | Updated as of Aug 25 2021 05:36 PM

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MANILA - Detained Sen. Leila De Lima and former interior secretary Mar Roxas on Wednesday slammed President Rodrigo Duterte for accusing the justice and interior departments of corruption under late President Noynoy Aquino's administration, noting that all of the deficiencies raised by the Commission on Audit (COA) have already been "settled."

The chief executive, during a taped address on Tuesday night, briefly talked about the corruption allegations in the Department of Justice (DOJ), then headed by De Lima, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) during the term of Roxas.

But both De Lima and Roxas said Duterte was just "misdirecting" the health department's deficiencies flagged by COA. 

"For someone who cannot even publicly disclose and release his own SALN, Duterte's accusation against me and Sec. Mar Roxas regarding COA's past reports on our agencies is just plain rich in irony and hypocrisy," De Lima said. 

She also challenged Duterte to file cases against her and Roxas from the already-resolved COA report, which they supposedly took into consideration to improve their agencies.

"He cannot, because those accounts have long been settled and closed. The COA knows that. That is why no further cases were made out of those reports," according to De Lima. 

In an interview on ANC, Roxas admitted that he could no longer remember the COA findings in 2014, but emphasized that the Duterte administration cleared him of any liabilities. 

"If there was such a finding, then it is very easy to look at the documents, and if there was any kind of anomaly, cases should have been filed or should have been brought to the Ombudsman," Roxas explained.

"Ako, nabigyan ng clearance ng gobyerno ni Pangulong Duterte. DTI, Senate, DOTC (Department of Transportation and Communications)... binigay sa akin yung retirement ko... Hindi ka bibigyan ng clearance kung mayroon kang pending na mga isyu," he added.

(I was given a clearance under Duterte. You cannot get it if you have pending cases)

Duterte issued the statement a day before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee resumes its hearings on how the Department of Health used its P67 billion COVID-19 response funds, which COA questioned for "deficiencies."

Last week, the President urged his Cabinet members to ignore COA's reports because nothing really happens if it gets published. 

'BUKING KA NA'

Roxas also said he noticed a "pattern" in the Duterte administration where they blame previous officials for the country's current issues. 

He also pointed out that based on his staff's research earlier in the day, the retired public official has no pending case in COA and Sandiganbayan, among others.

"Tuwing nabubulol na sila, hindi na nila alam kung anong gagawin, hindi na nila alam ano'ng sasagutin, ganun na lang, magtututuro na lang sila, maninisi ng iba. Bakit hindi na lang kasi sagutin ang tanong, ang problema?" said Roxas.

(When they can't say anything more, and when they don't know what to do, they would shift the blame to someone. Why can't they just answer the problem?)

"Imbes na magtututuro, bakit hindi na lang atupagin ang problema ng bayan. Dapang-dapa na ang tao. Sagad to the bones... bakit hindi na lang ganun ang gawin nila... mag-file na lang sila ng kaso."

(Instead of pointing figures to anyone, why can't they confront the issues of the country. Filipinos are already in a sorry state. They can no longer keep up with this. They should just file a case)

Unlike Duterte, Aquino and the government officials under him never threatened COA because of the irregularities they spotted in their agencies, the detained lawmaker said. 

Duterte should instead stop pointing fingers regarding the constitutional body's findings, and should just be accountable, De Lima added.

"Tulad ng sinabi ko, magnanakaw lang ang galit sa COA. Ni minsan hindi nagkaroon ng galit ang administrasyon ni PNoy sa COA. Gobyerno lang ni Duterte ang galit na galit sa COA," she said. 

(Only thieves are angry with COA. PNoy's administration never attacked COA. It was only under the administration of Duterte)

"Duterte, huwag ka nang magturo. Buking na buking ka na. Huwag ka nang mandamay at mag-akusa sa iba ng mga pinaglipasan nang mga isyu at luma nang mga paratang na hindi naman sinampa sa mga korte dahil nga wala namang basehan."

(Stop blaming other people Duterte. You are already caught. Stop diverting the issue by blaming it to past administrations)

Philippine lawmakers earlier reminded the President of the COA's constitutional mandate, with a former COA commissioner pointing out that their reports reflect how they seek to curb corruption in the government.