Stocky spokesman asks Duterte: Avoid weight gibes

President Rodrigo Duterte’s heavyset spokesman on Wednesday asked the leader to refrain from taunting the weight of other politicians, including a senator who is looking into government’s allegedly overpriced pandemic transactions.

Duterte on Monday said Sen. Richard Gordon, chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee, should lose weight. He also criticized the hairstyle of Sen. Panfilo Lacson. 

“I may be spokesperson, but I agree, Mr. President ‘wag mo nang sitahin ang katabaan dahil mea culpa, mataba rin ako,” said Duterte’s spokesman Harry Roque, when asked why the leader resorted to personal insults.

“Nagpapayat naman ako kaso sarado ang mga gym kaya wala… ang hirap nang bumalik sa exercise, pero susubukan ko rin po, magpapapayat din po ako,” he said in a press briefing. 

(Don’t criticize weight because mea culpa, I am fat, too. I am trying to lose weight but gyms are closed. It is hard to return to exercise, but I will try to lose weight, too.)

Lacson, who suspected “large-scale corruption” in the pandemic deals, said on Tuesday the Senate “will not flinch” in its investigation despite Duterte’s tirades. 

Gordon meanwhile said the probe could lead to Duterte.

Duterte’s former economic adviser Michael Yang reportedly has ties to Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp, which bagged some P8.68 billion worth of deals for pandemic response last year. 

The deals included the supply of personal protective equipment, which was allegedly overpriced at P1,700 per set. 

“Wala pa pong kahit anong napatunayan sa Senado. Iyong ‘overpricing’ po ng PPE hindi nila napatunayan ‘yon kasi wala naman silang mapakita na sa mga panahon na ‘yon P1,700 is overpriced,” said Roque. 

(The Senate has not yet proven anything. They have not proven the alleged pricing of PPEs because they did not prove that P1,700 at that time was overpriced.) 

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