Panelo to De Lima: 'If you can't help the govt's efforts to fight COVID-19, at least lockdown your mouth!'

Photo courtesy of ABS-CBN and Rappler

Opposition Senator Leila de Lima recently criticized President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement that he is eyeing the possibility of selling some government assets if the funds for COVID-19 response runs out.

De Lima said on Thursday, that she could not understand why Duterte was already considering selling public assets when he can still use all available funds for the government’s Covid-19 response programs.

PRRD meant that his last option was to sell public properties, including state-owned institutions Cultural Center of the Philippines and Philippine International Convention Center.

According to Malacanang, Duterte’s recent statement that the P275-billion budget alloted for Covid-19 response will not last long merely meant that funds are “not infinite,”. 

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said on Saturday, Duterte never claimed that public funds are running out amid the government’s fight against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), but rather funds are “not infinite”.

The president did not say we have exhausted our funds, he said the funds are not infinite,” Panelo said in a message.

 “Detained Senator De Lima is blabbering from ignorance. She is not listening to the message of the President,” Panelo added.

“If she cannot help in the government’s efforts to fight COVID-19 she should at least  lockdown her mouth,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

Panelo also advised the detained senator to read the transcript of [the President's] televised message.

De Lima also emphasized, “Wala pa tayo sa puntong ‘yon.”

“Dapat makumbinse tayo na wala na talagang pera ang gobyerno in the budgets of 2019 and 2020; funds held by GOCCs and other agencies, etc. at mga special purpose fund like Malampaya, road users’ fund, etc. to begin contemplating the selling of our assets,” De Lima said.

“Saka nasaan na nga ba ang napakalaking intel funds, baka naman pwedeng magamit din ito,” she added.

Under Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, President Duterte can reallocate, realign and reprogram the 2020 budget toward government programs against Covid-19.

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