MANILA - Opposition Sen. Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan on Tuesday questioned President Rodrigo Duterte's move to divulge the names of alleged corrupt lawmakers, while his allies who have been tagged in anomalies supposedly remain unscathed.
Duterte, in an address late Monday night, identified current and former lawmakers who allegedly received kickbacks from the government’s public works projects, even as he said their names only came up during investigations and that there is no proof to indict them.
"Kung walang konkretong ebidensya laban sa mga ito, anonang motibo para isiwalat?" Pangilinan, a lawyer like Duterte, told reporters in a text message.
(If there were no concrete evidence against them, what is the motive for announcing their names?)
"Bakit yung mga kakampi na klarong klaro at konkreto ang ebidensya ng palpak o kurakot na pamumuno, tulad ng overpriced na testing kits, pagpapalusot ng toneladang shabu sa Customs, wala silang imik?" he said.
(Why don't they say anything about their allies who were clearly involved in corruption like the overpricing of test kits and the entry of tons of illegal drugs in the Bureau of Customs?)
Pangilinan din not name government officials, although, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has been tagged in the alleged overpricing of COVID-19 test kits and corruption schemes in the Philippine Health Insurance Corp, while former Customs chief Nicanor Faeldon was recommended by the Ombudsman to be charged over a P6.4-billion shabu shipment that slipped past the Manila port in 2017.
"Anti-corruption ba talaga o anti-opposition at pro-sunud-sunuran na mga kakampi ang layunin?" Pangilinan asked.
(Was the motive really for anti-corruption or was it an anti-oposition and pro-lackeys statement?)
Among lawmakers included in the President's list of alleged corrupt officials were Northern Samar Rep. Paul Daza, Occidental Mindoro Rep. Josephine Ramirez-Sato and former Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat, all members of the Liberal Party, which Pangilinan heads.
But Duterte also included in the list Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman and Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas, both members of the President's ruling PDP-Laban party.
The said lawmakers have denied the allegations.