Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano is fighting back against a tidal wave of criticisms on his ill-advised move to hold up a sign boasting about how lawmakers and government executives went to work during the lockdown just like doctors and other frontliners.
Although Cayetano loved the message of the controversial sign – “Together with doctors and frontliners , we went to work for you, so please stay home for us” -, he revealed that it was not his idea.
“(Isabela Rep.) Tonypet Albano asked ES (Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea), myself, and many of you to hold a banner, and I asked him, ‘Why did you ask us to do that?’ Maluha-luha siya, sabi niya, he has a very close friend who died because of COVID-19,” said Cayetano in a rant-filled speech posted on Facebook.
“He told me, you know, hindi po madali sa mga waiters na pumasok ngayon, kasi no work, no pay ‘yung iba sa kanila—‘yung chef, ‘yung cook, ‘yung ibang nagbabantay, ‘yung ibang naglilinis dito,” said Cayetano referring to the staff who had to feed them, guard them and clean up after them during their special session to grant President Rodrigo Duterte special powers to declare a national emergency.
Cayetano said the bashers themselves assumed that going to Batasan was equivalent to what the frontliners in the virus were doing.
“Are we saying that we are as brave? Are we saying that as noble? Are we saying that we are, you know, as worthy as the frontliners for praises? No, we never said that,” said Cayetano.
“Sabi, hindi, ‘yung iba, they wanted publicity. We don’t need publicity. We’re on TV the whole day. This is the Congress of the Philippines. Anyone who speaks here, naka-live. If we wanted the publicity, kinatay natin ‘tong bill na ‘to, and every single advocacy, ispe-spell out natin hanggang singkapal na ng phonebook, ‘yung mga millennials hindi na siguro inabot ‘yung yellow pages,” he added.
Cayetano said he has no regrets about giving in to Albano’s request. “So Tonypet, if you ask me to hold up a sign again and even if the sign curses at me, but it gets people to read and it gets people to say stay home, I will do it again and again and again. Do not feel bad, you meant well. It’s not your fault,” he said.