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Poe plays ‘hidden’ card

Many of the projects are ongoing despite the absence of the proposed extra powers to the President.

Kristina Maralit

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You know who to blame, says the President.

Personal stake and not the greater good motivates the unyielding opposition of Sen. Grace Poe to the proposed emergency powers to solve the vehicle traffic crisis as Department of Transportation (DoTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade noted a selfish aim behind Poe’s actions.

“I would say that withholding emergency powers is the result of a personal hidden agenda. Is it necessary that our views are clouded if we truly dedicate ourselves to serving the public?” Tugade said in an interview on “Dobol B sa News TV.”

“Even if it is not given, there will be no retreat, no surrender for us. That means we will still do what we believe are necessary to achieve our goals. It is just that the projects are delayed. Time grows short,” the DoTr chief added.

Tugade maintained that emergency powers will expedite the implementation and expand the coverage of work in resolving longstanding traffic problems.

Granting special power will accelerate the adoption of policy directions that would normally require time-consuming amendment of existing laws and ordinances, the DoTr said in a statement.

The DoTr provided Daily Tribune with a list of projects submitted to Poe as early as September 2016. The list included description, budget and the effect of emergency powers on the timelines of projects.

The DoTr stated many of the projects are ongoing despite the absence of the proposed extra powers to the President.

Poe and Tugade clashed on the need for emergency powers during a Senate Committee on Public Services hearing last Tuesday as the senator turned down outright the emergency powers petition claiming she was still unconvinced about the need for it.

Doubting solon

Don’t point the finger at him if the worsening traffic situation in EDSA is not solved by the time he leaves Malacañang, the President warned earlier.

Rather, pin the blame on a “lady senator” who has repeatedly blocked his request to Congress of being granted emergency powers to ease the burden of commuters and motorists brought by Metro Manila’s longstanding traffic woes.

“When it was talked about in Congress, there was a lady senator… I heard she said ‘You cannot trust these guys with corruption. This is big money. No,’” Mr. Duterte said in his Q&A with Palace reporters last Tuesday night.

“That’s why I said, while I was listening… I said, ‘Tell them, never mind.’” he added.

Although he did not name names, the President obviously was referring to Poe.

While she is not against the granting of Mr. Duterte’s request of being given a free hand in untangling the gridlocks on EDSA and other major thoroughfares in the metro, she still needed to be thoroughly convinced that emergency powers are really needed to alleviate the situation.

Go ahead, make her President

The Chief Executive, however, viewed Poe’s remarks as a way of saying that she and the other lawmakers who are against giving him emergency powers are the only ones upright in government.

“Never mind. But someday, maybe if she runs again, I’ll drop that issue on her. That if there’s anybody responsible, it’s because there are people… maybe it’s their breeding — extra proud. It’s as if they’re the only ones honest. As if they want to say they’re the only ones with integrity… I’ll tell them that,” he expressed.

“Even when we were just starting, she already talked about graft and corruption. Do it her way then. Make her the President, go. I would tell it to her face,” he added.
Mr. Duterte also stressed that he “will not beg” Congress to soften its stance on the issue.

“What for? I cannot complete the project. I cannot clear EDSA with the remaining years of my term. So, if ever I get that and then I leave, there will be remnants. They’ll say ‘See? I told you.
Corruption. Look at what they did, they left it incomplete,’” he said.

Mr. 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.

“I offered a solution, then they said ‘corruption’… That’s her legacy. Make it a legacy 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, not everyone in this world is corrupt.”

Part of the job

Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, meanwhile, credited Tugade for his conviction in obtaining emergency powers for the President.

“When it comes to Secretary Tugade, I can see the proof that when he is given the means, he will implement his plan,” Cayetano indicated.

“If he is asking for emergency power, why not let him explain? Why not give it to him? We only have a few more months this year and a whole of next year to make radical changes that would help our country,” the Speaker noted.

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