MANILA – The Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) has a simple explanation on allegations that government resources are being used to cover President Rodrigo Duterte's activities.
“It is our job to cover all events the President of the Republic graces with his presence,” PCOO Undersecretary Lorraine Marie T. Badoy said in a press statement on Sunday.
Badoy reacted to Bayan Muna Party-list Representative Carlos Isagani Zarate’s remark that broadcasting the President's July 6 meeting with officials of the ruling party, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), was an “unabashed display of impunity using government time and resources for clearly partisan political activity”.
People’s Television Network aired the PDP-Laban meeting on July 7 while other government-operated news outlets and social media accounts covered it.
Badoy emphasized the importance of covering all the President’s events, noting that the PCOO takes pride in Duterte being “the most visible president” in the country’s history.
She noted that broadcasting all Duterte’s events contributed to his high trust and approval ratings.
“It has also made him the most trusted public servant in his administration with unprecedented trust and approval ratings that can only be the envy of leaders all over the world. The Filipino people trust him because they know him. And they know him because the PCOO covers his every move, his every utterance so that we know who he is and what he stands for,” she added.
On Thursday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the “political personality” of Duterte, also the PDP-Laban chair, could not be separated from his official duties as the country’s chief executive.
“Well, iiwan ko na po iyang issue na iyan kung ano ang sinasabi ninyong partisan activities (I will leave to you the issue of partisan activities that you are saying). Pero (But) the President has always been chairman of PDP-Laban and there’s no way to separate the political personality of the President from his functions because halal nga po siya ng taong bayan (he is elected by the people),” Roque said during a media briefing.
During the meeting, members of the PDP-Laban renewed their call for Duterte to run for vice president in 2022.
Duterte said he is “seriously thinking” about it.
Zarate’s NPA connection
Badoy, also a spokesperson of the government’s anti-insurgency task force, slammed Zarate for accusing the PCOO of engaging in activities where Bayan Muna members themselves are “experts” in.
“What Zarate accuses the PCOO of is something the NPA (New People’s Army) Bloc is not only guilty of but of which they are experts in -- the brazen misuse and abuse of government time and resources to undermine and weaken government and bring great suffering and pain to our people,” she said.
Badoy also doubts if the Makabayan bloc, which she also called the NPA bloc, can obtain trust and approval ratings as high as Duterte’s.
“If media were to follow (Communist Party of the Philippines founder) Jose Maria Sison’s faithful minions around -- Zarate, (Bayan Muna’s Ferdinand) Gaite, (Eufemia) Cullamat of Bayan Muna, (Sara) Elago of Kabataan, (Arlene) Brosas of Gabriela, and (France) Castro of ACT, will the Filipino people give them their trust and approval like they did our President? Fat chance,” she said.
Badoy also assured that the PCOO will continue to work so Filipino voters will be aware of how the CPP-NPA-National Democratic Front (NDF) operatives in Congress have enabled the most unforgivable crimes against indigenous peoples, the poor, and children.
“We are ceaseless in working so that the shadow of the terrorist CPP-NPA-NDF will never again darken the halls of Congress and that we would have purged ourselves of the toxic presence of communist terrorism by 2022,” she said. (PNA)