MANILA— President Rodrigo Duterte is a "bully," Sen. Richard Gordon said Tuesday, hours after the chief executive again lambasted him on national television over the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee's investigation into alleged irregularities in the procurement of the country's pandemic supplies.
Duterte has repeatedly condemned Gordon, fat shaming the senator and calling him a "despot" for leading the Senate investigation on a firm linked to his former adviser Michael Yang.
"You are a bully. The Filipino people can fight back against bullies," Gordon said during the congressional probe that took place on the anniversary of the declaration of martial law.
"Halatang-halata kayo. Namemersonal na kayo... Bakit ninyo ako inaaway? Ginagawa ko lang ang ang aking tungkulin," he said.
(You are so obvious. You are going personal... Why are you picking a fight with me? I'm just doing my job.)
Gordon dared Duterte to fulfill his promise of "doing his worst" against him, noting that this has been the President's default when criticized for his policies.
"Saktan ninyo na ako... Pinatay na tatay ko, pinahirapan tatay ko, grinagranada, inaabangan. You think matatakot ako sa isang nilalang? Takot ako sa Diyos, takot ako sa tao pero hindi ako duwag," the senator said.
(Go ahead hurt me... My father was killed, tortured, bombed, stalked. You think I'll get scared of one creature? I'm afraid of God, of the people, but I am not a coward.)
"Quite frankly Mr. President, you are boring. Hindi po ako natatakot sa inyo (I'm not afraid of you). Hindi ako duwag (I am not a coward). Do your worst, Mr. President as you did with ABS-CBN," he said, in reference to the shutdown of ABS-CBN's broadcast operations.
A panel of Duterte's allies in the House of Representatives had rejected the network's bid for a fresh franchise in July last year following lengthy hearings, a move seen as the fruition of the President's oft repeated threads against the network in public.
Gordon urged Duterte to do his job as Philippine president instead of protecting Chinese businessmen who are under investigation.
"Atty. Duterte is lawyering for his people, the Chinese. I ask him respectfully to lawyer for the Filipino people. Do your job."
Duterte began verbally assaulting Gordon and other senators earlier this month after the chamber found that former Presidential Economic Adviser Michael Yang lied under oath.
Yang initially said that he had nothing to do with Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp, a 2-year-old company that bagged billions in government contracts.
Pharmally officials later told senators that they borrowed money from Yang to purchase face masks and RT-PCR test kits to fulfill its contract with the Department of Budget and Management's Procurement Service.
Duterte urged Cabinet members and other resource persons to snub the Senate investigations, saying he would extract officials detained by the chamber in corruption probes.