Arroyo defends Duterte from critics

Former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo | Inquirer.net photo

FORMER President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Tuesday, August 4, came to the defense of President Rodrigo Duterte following the public backlash he received over the government’s supposed inefficiency in handling the novel coronavirus pandemic.

In her Facebook post, Arroyo called Duterte’s critics “Monday morning quarterbacks,” a term used for people who criticize something and offer alternative solutions after the event has passed.

“It is easy for them to be a Monday morning quarterback because they are not the ones in charge,” she wrote.

Arroyo, who served as House Speaker from July 2018 to June 2019, is known to be a supporter of the president.

In June, she said she has the highest respect for government officials and all the front-liners.

“I was head of our government in the SARS, avian flu, and swine flu [epidemics]. From that perspective, I must say that I have nothing but the highest respect for all of those in our government now battling in the arena, from President [Rodrigo] Duterte to Sec. [Carlito] Galvez, to Sec. [Francisco] Duque and to each and every front-liner in the trenches and checkpoints, many of whom have given their lives in this fight,” Arroyo said.

“I have been in the arena, so I think I have earned the right to say that an ounce of their effort is worth more than the ton of criticism they receive day in and day out,” she added.

The Duterte administration has been getting flak for its COVID-19 response, especially after Duterte’s fifth State of the Nation Address wherein critics claimed he presented no concrete masterplan to defeat the virus.

Duterte, for his part, said medicine and budget are needed first before a roadmap can be formulated.

“Sabihin niyo wala kaming roadmap. The roadmap ng recovery natin – I do not know din ‘yung headline niyang newspaper. Sabi ko nga hindi ako nagbabasa ng newspaper eh. The roadmap… If it’s about me, I do not read. ‘Duterte, where is your roadmap?’ (You said we have no roadmap to recovery. I do not know but the headline of the newspaper — I said I don’t read newspapers if it’s about me. ‘Duterte where is your roadmap?’),” he said in his address aired on Friday, July 31.

“Hindi nga kami maka-roadmap because we were talking about budget. Itong gabing ito, I could not have uttered a single sentence about roadmap to recovery kasi ang una talaga dyan, ang medicine (We cannot craft the roadmap because we are talking about the budget. This night. I could not have uttered a single sentence about roadmap to recovery because the medicine is needed first),” Duterte added.

As of this writing, there are 115,980 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, with 2,123 fatalities and 66,270 recoveries.

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