UNCALLED FOR. Surigao del Sur 1st district Rep. Prospero Pichay describes former Senator Antonio Trillanes’ plunder allegations against President Rodrigo Roa Duterte as “highly irresponsible” and “very uncalled for” during a press conference at a restaurant along Katipunan Road, Quezon City on Wednesday (July 14, 2021). Pichay said Trillanes is targeting Duterte for his own political ambition in 2022. (PNA photo by Robert Oswald P. Alfiler)

MANILA – A lawmaker on Wednesday said former Senator Antonio Trillanes’ plunder allegations against President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is “highly irresponsible” and “very uncalled for.”

“That is a highly irresponsible statement,” Surigao del Sur 1st district Rep. Prospero Pichay said in a media interview.

Pichay made the statement after Trillanes accused Duterte and Senator Christopher “Bong” Go of alleged plunder involving PHP6.6 billion in government projects, majority of the amount was secured by Go’s family during Duterte’s first two years as president.

“Ang Presidente, walang power po mamigay ng projects dahil mayroon tayong tinatawag na (The President has no power to give projects because we have the) Procurement Law - Republic Act 9184,” said Prospero, also secretary general of Lakas Christian - Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD).

He said the procurement law provides that the government has to go through a bidding process while the Commission on Audit (COA) will only allow payment after the completion of the projects.

“Pero iyong projects naman na pinanalunan sa bidding, if it is properly implemented eh, saan doon iyong plunder? Walang element ng plunder (But the projects were won through bidding, if it is properly implemented, where is plunder. No element of plunder),” Pichay said.

“Kaya kami, it’s really uncalled for na sasabihin mo na si Presidente nagbigay sa pamilya ni (That is why we, it’s really uncalled for to say that the President gave it to the family of) Senator Bong Go ng projects and it is plunder,” he added.

Malacañang earlier said Trillanes will certainly fail to prove his “rehashed” plunder allegations against Duterte and Go.

“Sa panahon ng pulitika, asahan po natin ang mga ganitong paratang, pero huwag po ninyong kakalimutan, iyong mga bumabato ngayon, ibinato na iyan na dati. Walang napatunayan noon, walang mapapatunayan ngayon, walang mapapatunayan bukas (At a time of politics, let us expect allegations like these but don’t forget that these accusations have been hurled before. Nothing was proven before, nothing will be proven today, and nothing will be proven tomorrow),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.

‘Dirty politics’

Pichay said Trillanes has political ambition in 2022 and instead of flaunting his achievements, the former senator resorted to “dirty politics.” Trillanes earlier expressed the intention to run for president.

“Alam mo (You know) this kind of politics? This is dirty politics. Hindi ka naman mananalo dahil sinisiraan mo iyong iba. Eh, kawawa naman imagine mo naman Presidente ng Pilipinas (You will not win because are destroying others. That’s unfair, imagine President of the Philippines) you make a very, very irresponsible accusation. Hindi maganda po iyan, (it’s not good) that is not a good example to us Filipinos,” Pichay said.

He said the former senator is targeting Duterte to gain “free exposure”.

“Well, definitely! You want free exposure? Say something bad against the President, definitely it will come out sa (in the) press even if it is not true,” he said.

 Pichay, however, said Trillanes should not resort to black propaganda and fake news.

“That’s black propaganda, that is fake news and that is libelous,” he said. “As a politician I do not resort to that, I just come out with what I have done in the past so many years.”

Lakas-CMD to support Duterte-Duterte

Pichay said the Lakas-CMD will support the possible daughter-father tandem of Davao City Sara Duterte and her father President Duterte in the 2022 presidential and vice presidential elections.

"Definitely we’re going to support (Duterte). If (Davao City) Sara (Duterte) decided to run for president, the Party will definitely support the candidacy of Mayor Sara Duterte dahil mayroon ho kaming (because we have) alliance with Hugpong ng Pagbabago, that is the regional Party of Mayor Sara Duterte, so, it’s just like she’s part of Lakas," he said.

He said he was not surprised by Pulse Asia survey showing Sara's lead among would-be presidentiables with 28 percentage points.

"Anybody who criticizes the President, his rating will go down. Anybody who criticizes a very popular President whose approval rating is somewhere between 88 and 92 eh talagang bababa ka (you will go down). You criticize a very unpopular President, your rating will go up," he said. (PNA)