MANILA - Senator Richard Gordon on Wednesday slammed President Rodrigo Duterte for covering up the alleged mismanagement of pandemic funds.
The President had criticized the Commission on Audit's reports and the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee's investigations, saying the public should not listen to these hearings.
Gordon said Duterte discouraging officials, both current and former, from attending the inquiries was "inciting to sedition."
"Yes, covering his tracks, trying to protect his people.. it’s a false sense of leadership. To me, there's an absence of leadership. He’s not very hands on. He has meetings at night, and when he has meetings at night he flays away at everybody including us now," Gordon told ANC's Headstart.
"'Yung sinasabi niya nung una (What he said in the beginning) actually it’s inciting to sedition--when you tell somebody like soldiers ‘Do not attend, ako ang bahala (leave it to me).’ I don't know why the President leans over backwards for his people. I don’t know if it’s a sense of macho, a false sense of pride."
Duterte should have been the first one to "castigate" his appointees as he ran an anti-corruption presidential campaign, Gordon said.
"Kung may ginawa sila, patawag niyo kaagad at kastiguhin niyo kaagad dahil yan ang sinabi niyo," he said.
Duterte had defended former Budget Undersecretary Christopher Lao, who headed the purchase of overpriced medical supply last year.
He also backed former Presidential Economic Adviser Michael Yang, who reportedly has ties with Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp, the firm that Lao's department awarded some P8.68 billion worth of deals for personal protective equipment.
The senator said he would ask his colleagues if the committee could come up with a preliminary report by Friday.
"We’re now going to Yang, if we’re finished with that there is room for a preliminary report," he said.