An upside to the COVID-19 pandemic is the substantial reduction in the number of politicians making self-promoting statements before the news media. Most of these politicians are at home to avoid catching the dreaded virus. Three senators have already tested positive for COVID-19.
One of those senators is Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III. Two weeks ago, Pimentel made a public nuisance of himself by accompanying his pregnant wife to the Makati Medical Center delivery room complex, when he was supposed to be on home quarantine to avoid spreading the virus.
As a result, the hospital had to put 22 of its medical personnel on quarantine for possible contamination from Pimentel. That’s 22 health workers less fighting the dreaded virus, courtesy of the inconsiderate, egotistical senator.
Others who were at the delivery room complex who may have also contracted the disease from Pimentel are still being identified and located. That’s an increase in COVID-19 carriers, also courtesy of Pimentel.
Prior to the hospital incident, Pimentel attended two birthday parties, and was spotted inside a mall at Bonifacio Global City.
It was reported that Pimentel is now confined in a hospital. Just how many more people Pimentel contaminated with the virus is a dreadful prospect.
Another politician who has also made a public nuisance of himself is Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman. He is protesting the way the House of Representatives crafted a shortcut to make emergency public funds available to address the health crisis.
Lagman probably does not realize that the war against COVID-19 is not just medical but an economic one as well. Money is needed immediately to acquire protective equipment for medical service frontliners, and to help marginalized Filipinos affected by the enhanced community quarantine survive the crisis.
Since Lagman is unaware that COVID-19 threatens human existence, he should start reading up on current events lest he contracts the dreaded disease by his own improvidence.
He should also stop his pro-poor speeches that are nothing but empty rhetoric.
Fortunately, Congress has given President Rodrigo Roa Duterte P200 billion to acquire medical supplies and facilities, compensate health workers, and soften the bad times experienced by those who are temporarily out of work.
Actually, the current health crisis is a rare opportunity for the politicians in both the Senate and the House of Representatives to show their collective support for the nation’s war on the deadly virus.
That collective support can be demonstrated by a unanimous resolve by all senators and representatives to donate all their salaries and allowances corresponding to what’s left of fiscal year 2020-2021 to President Duterte’s campaign against the disease.
Solons from the PDP, the political party in power, should make the first move by urging all the President’s allies in Congress to waive their salaries and allowances. Once the measure begins, politicians with some decency left in themselves will follow suit.
When Sen. Grace Poe ran for president in 2016, she styled herself as a mother the Filipino people can turn to at any time and for any reason, if she got elected president. Poe can live up to that motherly political promise by donating all her salaries and allowances to the fight against the virus.
Conspicuously missing from the political spotlight lately is Vice President Leni Robredo of the Liberal Party (LP) who, before the medical crisis got worse, criticized President Duterte and his management style. As the LP’s highest ranking but useless titular head, Robredo is probably at home avoiding the virus because if she contracts it and dies of it, the LP will lose its prominent white elephant.
Robredo can make herself useful for once by donating her salary and allowances to the anti-COVID-19 fight, and to urge her partymates in Congress like Senators Francis Pangilinan, Leila de Lima and Risa Hontiveros to do so as well.
President Duterte has already tested negative for COVID-19. What about Robredo? What is the state of her health right now? Is the Vice President, who loves to be seen in the news pretending to commiserate with the poor, now in hiding like then Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV did when there was a warrant issued for his arrest?
The challenge to be selfless has been made. It’s your move, Leni.