MANILA – Do not make President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent visit to a mall in Makati City a big deal, Senator Christopher Lawrence Go said on Tuesday.
Go issued the statement, after he and Duterte were spotted at Greenbelt 5 in Makati City on Oct. 2 after the senator filed his certificate of candidacy for vice president at the Sofitel Harbor Garden Tent in Pasay City.
Photos of Go and Duterte mobbed by shoppers were uploaded on social media.
In a press statement, Go confirmed that he and Duterte went to Greenbelt for a quick shopping trip and entertained mall-goers who were trying to get a photo with the President.
“Nagyaya siya na dumaan muna nang saglit sa mall na matagal na niyang hindi napupuntahan bago umuwi (He wanted to pass by the mall that he had not been to for a long time before going home),” Go said. “May mga iilan ring lumapit para magpa-picture sa kanya at in-entertain rin naman niya. (There are some who asked for a picture and he entertained them).”
Go said there was nothing wrong with Duterte visiting the mall.
He added that Duterte merely wanted to unwind, since the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic has restricted the Chief Executive’s movement.
“Mabilis lang kami dun at wala rin kaming binili bukod sa cookies dahil gusto lang talaga ni Pangulo na mag-ikot at maglakad-lakad. Ilang buwan na rin siyang hindi nakakalabas, nakakulong at puro trabaho (Our mall visit was just quick and we just bought cookies, nothing else, because the President only wanted to go for a walk. It has been months since he was unable to go outside and since he was too busy doing his job),” Go said.
Go said Duterte, just like any other Filipino, has the right to visit a mall.
“Pati ba naman ‘yung pagpunta niya ng mall, gagawan pa ng malisya. Karapatan naman ng sinuman iyon (Don’t put malice in his mall visit. That’s the right of everyone),” he said.
Duterte’s recent visit to Greenbelt came amid the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic.
He also went there the same day he announced his plan to retire from public service after his term ends in June 2022.
Duterte, Go said, is “excited” to become an “ordinary citizen” anew after he steps down from office next year.
“Sabi nga ng Pangulo, kaunti na lang at matatapos na ang kanyang termino. Makakapahinga na daw siya (The President said he only has to wait for a short time to finish his term and get some rest). He is excited to return to being an ordinary citizen after decades in public service,” he said. (PNA)