Press Release
December 18, 2021

Dispatch from Crame No. 1,191:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima on Duterte's claim of depleted funds due to COVID-19

In the midst of the catastrophic devastation suffered by Dinagat, Siargao, and other small island provinces, Duterte has the gall to say that he has already spent all the money of government for COVID-19 response.

This coming from a president who acts as the defense lawyer of Michael Yang, Darghani, Linconn Ong, and Christopher Lloyd Lao who managed to siphon off 10 billion pesos from government coffers, money that was spent buying Porsches and Lamborghinis.

This is 10 billion that could have been spared for the relief operations and reconstruction of small provinces levelled by Typhoon "Odette". Instead, this 10 billion was pocketed and used to buy Porsches and Lamborghinis in a country where the income of small island provinces could not even afford generators for emergency power in the aftermath of super typhoons.

Kung wala na palang pera para sa pantugon sa pandemya at sa taun-taong mga bagyong dumadaan sa ating bansa, patunay lang yan na dapat na talagang bawasan ang budget ng NTF-ELCAC na mahilig mang-red tag ng mga kritiko ng gobyerno, at magsilbing dagdag na pork barrel para sa Ehekutibo.

The best counter-insurgency strategy is - and always has been - for government to serve the people well, to attend to their basic and immediate needs, and to be responsible in spending the national coffers.

But Duterte, being less of a leader and more of a tyrant, would rather add insult to injury by withholding funds from those devastated by a totally predictable disaster that visits our country every year like clockwork.

Duterte might as well tell the hungry, unsheltered, and devastated people of Siargao and Dinagat: "Let them eat cake!"

But Mr. President, they cannot even have Christmas now because you gave all their money to Pharmally and wasted more of taxpayers' money on your red-tagging pet project, instead of saving it for relief operations needed for the expected devastation wrought by the yearend's super typhoon.

(Access the handwritten version, here:

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