TRANSPORTATION Secretary Arthur Tugade continues to enjoy the trust of President Rodrigo Duterte, despite the crippling traffic situation in Metro Manila, Malacañang said on Thursday, September 12.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Tugade deserves to stay as Transporation chief as he did his best to convince Congress to grant emergency powers to Duterte to deal with the congestion.
"Of course," Panelo said, when quizzed if Tugade still enjoys the trust of Duterte.
"Mr. Tugade has already laid out the table in the Senate. He is suggesting that emergency powers be granted to the President, as he previously did. But the problem is he was unable to get it, that's why the President is no longer interested," he added.
Panelo made the remark in reaction to Senator Grace Poe's statement that Tugade needs to be replaced because of his supposed failure to solve the traffic mess.
Poe, chair of the Senate public services committee, said she believed that Tugade "did not perform" his duties given the worsening traffic situation in Metro Manila.
Panelo brushed this aside.
"Hindi ako naniniwala diyan (I don't believe in that)," he said.
He also turned the tables on Poe, whom he blamed as one of the reasons for the traffic congestion in the nation's capital.
"Ikinalulungkot niya? Nalulungkot din ako para sa kanya kasi kung hindi nila kinontra yung pangangailangan at that time, siguro wala na tayong problema sa Edsa (She is saddened? I am also saddenfed because had she not opposed the need to grant emergency pwoers at that time, perhaps, we would have not experienced problem in Edsa)," the Palace official said.
"They were given nga the option. Ito ang solusyon namin diyan, kailangan ng emergency powers ni Presidente, bigyan niyo siya. Pero ang naging sagot niya o kung sinuman ang iba pa, eh baka daw magka-abuso, baka mag-corruption. Kaya nayamot si Presidente. 'Ah, ganoon, oh sige, bahala na kayo diyan,'" he added.
(They were given the option. Granting emergency powers to the President is our solution to solve traffic woes. But her response was there might be an abuse and it could lead to corruption. The President got piqued, that's why he said, let it be.)
Duterte, who was apparently irked by Congress's failure to grant his administration the emergency powers to deal with the traffic congestion in the country, said on August 21 that he would just "let Edsa rot."
On September 10, the President said he has also no plan of begging Congress to grant him emergency powers to solve the traffic woes.
But Panelo noted that Duterte may have a change of heart with regard to the emergency powers, depending on the circumstances.
"Depende na sa Presidente 'yun kung magbago isip niya kasi kung nandiyan na ang emergency powers eh (It depends on the President if he will change his mind, once the emergency powers are granted to him). So he has the option either to veto it or to approve it. That's his call. We cannot force him," he said.
"If you're talking about possibilities, sky is the limit. Hintayin na lang natin. Lahat 'yun probable (Let's just wait. It's probable). Alam mo naman si Presidente (You know the President), he announces something and then when circumstances change, he changes his position," Panelo added. (SunStar Philippines)