Former Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Tuesday called on Senator Manny Pacquiao to prioritize the delivery of relief to Filipinos affected by the pandemic instead of going on an offensive and accusing government agencies of corruption.
Speaking to the media on July 6 before leading the distribution of aid to sari-sari store owners in Pangasinan, Cayetano said while there should be no compromise on the efforts to fight corruption, different camps should first work together to help the country recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“One part of me wants to start investigating and fighting corruption right now. Another part of me is pakainin muna natin ang mga tao. Bumalik muna ang hanapbuhay. Ayusin muna natin ito,” he said.
(Another part of me wants to address the growing hunger among our people. Let’s restore their livelihood first. Let’s fix this first.)
Pacquiao had held a press conference on Saturday in which he claimed that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) failed to distribute P10.4 billion in cash aid under the Social Amelioration Program (SAP).
At the same time, he said the Department of Health (DOH) had been purchasing medicines nearing their expiration dates.
The senator also said the Department of Energy (DOE) granted a private company the power to operate as an independent electricity stock market operator.
Cayetano said Pacquiao’s recent remarks sought to paint the current administration as a coddler of corrupt officials.
“The way Senator Pacquiao said it, na doble (ang korapsyon), parang bang it’s a policy of this government to allow corruption,” he said.
(The way Senator Pacquiao said it, that corruption has doubled under the current administration, he made it sound as if it’s the policy of this government to allow corruption.)
The former Speaker said the current administration is aware that corruption has been prevalent in several agencies.
“May mga agencies na nawala ang korapsyon. May mga agencies na bumalik ang malaking korapsyon,” he said.
(There are agencies that have already been cleared of corruption. And there are agencies that are seeing a resurgence of corruption.)
Cayetano advised Pacquiao to organize his evidence and be precise in his efforts to combat corruption.
“Parang sa boxing, dapat precise ang suntok. Ganun din dapat sa pulitika,” he said.
(In boxing, one’s punch has to be precise. That should also be the case in politics.)