By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora
MANILA — Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Wednesday chided Senator Grace Poe for her initial opposition on granting the executive branch emergency powers to solve the traffic woes in Metro Manila, particularly along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (Edsa).
“Kasi nga (Because) from the very start — obviously the grant of emergency powers would have helped a lot. Since kinontra niya iyon (she opposed it), it will haunt her when the time comes,” the official said in a CNN Philippines interview.
The remarks come after President Rodrigo Duterte thumbed down proposals to grant him the powers the executive branch had earlier asked when he assumed office to resolve the horrendous traffic congestion in Metro Manila.
“Iyong Edsa na iyan, sabi nila ganoon-ganoon. Sabi ko nung narinig ko, sabi ko wag na. So ngayon gusto nilang i-revive. Ilang buwan na lang, two years and so many months, hindi ko na iyan matatapos (That Edsa, they talk a lot, When I’ve heard it, I said, never mind. Now, they want to revive. I have only two remaining years, I cannot finish it),” Duterte said in a press conference in Malacañang on Tuesday (Sept. 10).
In a separate Palace event on Tuesday, Duterte said the traffic congestion in Metro Manila will serve as a legacy of the politicians, including Poe, who turned down his request for emergency powers.
“Meron na ngang solution eh sabihin niyo (I offered a solution, then they said) ‘corruption’ … Yan ang legacy niya (That’s her legacy). Make it a legacy ng pagka-politiko (of being a politician). It’s not mine,” the President said.
Contrary to Poe’s concern that corruption will tarnish emergency powers, Duterte responded: “Grace, hindi lahat ng tao dito sa mundong ito magnanakaw (Grace, not everyone in this world is corrupt).”
Panelo, for his part, refuse to speculate as to how the President will respond if the emergency power is granted to him now, but said “he can veto it”.
“Di ba sabi na nga ni Presidente, ayaw niya na. Pero kung nandiyan na siguro iyong power, hindi natin alam (The President had said he will no longer accept it. But if the emergency power is there already, we don’t know) if he will change his mind,” he said. (PNA)