Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo (File photo)

MANILA – Chief Presidential Legal Counsel on Thursday said he saw nothing wrong with the holding of ribbon-cutting ceremonies that come with the opening of new Covid-19 facilities, stressing the need to show the public government efforts being done to address the prevailing health crisis.

Panelo made this statement after Senator Nancy Binay criticized the conduct of ribbon-cutting rites on Tuesday for the Quezon Institute Offsite Modular Hospital, saying it would “leave a bad taste for families of Covid patients who are racing against life and time.”

The ribbon-cutting ceremony was attended by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez Jr., and Senator Christopher “Bong” Go.

Panelo said he was “disappointed” by Binay’s comment.

“Bakit naman pati naman yang inauguration diyan sa Quezon Institute Off-site Modular Hospital e pinupulaan mo at sinasabi mo ‘Bakit pa may mga seremonya? Wala na ‘yan.’ Bakit ka naman ganyan (Why do you have to criticize the inauguration at the Quezon Institute Off-site Modular Hospital by asking ‘Why is there a ceremony? There shouldn’t be one.’ Why are you like that)?” he said in his online commentary show “Counterpoint.”

He questioned whether Binay has done anything to ease congestion in hospitals across Metro Manila.

“E ikaw ba ano bang nagawa mo para matulungan mo naman itong mga eto? Huwag kang ganyan Senadora Binay. Hanga pa naman sana ako sayo dahil medyo humble ka. Pero ngayon anong nangyari sa iyo? Ano bang masama nun na magkaroon ng inauguration (What did you do to help these people? Don’t be like that. I used to admire you for being humble. But now, what happened to you? What’s wrong with holding an inauguration)?” he said.

Panelo explained that it was “necessary” for the government to tout their accomplishments especially since critics continue to brand the administration’s Covid-19 response managers as “incompetent.”

“Katunayan kailangan nga makita ng tao ang ginagawa ng pamahalaan kasi nga pinupuna ng pinupuna niyo e na walang ginagawa. Kaya ‘yan pinakita natin (In fact, it’s necessary for the people to see what the administration is doing because it keeps receiving criticism for not doing anything. That’s why we’re showing these accomplishments),” he added.

Instead of criticizing, he said the lawmaker should be happy about the government’s new achievement.

Binay, in a tweet, called on authorities to open Covid-19 facilities right away, instead of wasting time holding ribbon-cutting rites.

"Pakiusap kung pwede buksan na lang para magamit agad. Sayang lang ang oras sa ribbon cutting at photo ops. These things are unnecessary and leave a bad taste for families of Covid patients who are racing against life and time (Please if possible, just open the facility) so it can be used already. Time is wasted on ribbon-cutting and photo ops),” she said.

Panelo also hit back at Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson who earlier said the government’s Covid-19 response appears to be on “autopilot” with no one in charge.

“Lumabas ka kasi sa bahay mo and then umikot ka para malaman mo (Step out of your house and go around for you to find out),” he said.

The Quezon Institute Off-site Modular Hospital is expected to provide an additional 110 beds for Covid-19 patients. (PNA)