'Cheap politician': Gordon slams Duterte for defending Yang, Lao in COVID-19 fund controversy

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 17) — After being the subject of his recent tirades, Senator Richard Gordon slammed President Rodrigo Duterte for defending individuals linked to the controversy surrounding the government's COVID-19 response funds.

"Ang taga-sagot nila ngayon is si Atty. Duterte. Naga-abogado na po si Atty. Duterte ngayon. Hindi na siya pangulo ng Pilipinas," said the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chairman on Friday.

[Translation: They have Atty. Duterte to answer for them. Atty. Duterte is lawyering for them now. He's no longer the president of the Philippines.]

Gordon was referring to the chief executive's recent efforts to defend former Budget Usec. Lloyd Christopher Lao and presidential adviser Michael Yang both at the center of the Senate probe along with the country's top medical supplier Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp.

The senator likewise called Duterte a "cheap politician," accusing him of standing by Lao to settle his debt of gratitude for his help during the elections.

"Cheap politician, as cheap as they come, Mr. President. I'm sorry. Mr. President, ang ipinagtatanggol niyo, si Yang? Mr. President, kailangan 'nyo bang ipagtanggol? Bilyonaryo 'yan," decried Gordon.

[Translation: Mr. President, it's Yang you're defending? Do you need to defend him? He's a billionaire.]

Gordon likewise called out Duterte for his past controversial remarks such as his "kill, kill, kill" and "shoot the vagina" orders against female rebels.

"You're not a president the Filipino people can respect," Gordon added.

Duterte has consistently berated Gordon and his fellow senators during his public addresses as they continue their investigation into the issue.