Want to see a grown man pick a digital fight because of President Rodrigo Duterte? Well, sorta.
Actor and fierce government ally Robin Padilla has instigated a spat with Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla after the lawmaker publicly asked President Rodrigo Duterte to include overlooked middle-income families in the government’s COVID-19 relief.
It started on Monday, when the Cavite governor posted a letter on his Facebook account, asking the chief executive to help middle class families. Remulla said that his province has over 70 percent overseas Filipino workers who have been paying their dues while juggling mortgages and sending their children to colleges.
“In the past 3 weeks most [of them] have depleted their savings…It is a time of crisis for everyone. Not just the poorest of the poor, but also those who have built much but not enough,” Remulla said.
Under the government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP) low-income families can receive cash handouts of up to PHP8,000 (US$157) to help them cope with the unemployment caused by the Luzon-wide lockdown. Remulla said some middle-class families should also receive the SAP.
“They pay the most taxes. They keep our economy alive. They are mostly law abiding citizens. They need a break,” he said.
Apparently, however, Remulla’s well-meaning plea rubbed Padilla the wrong way.
The actor attacked the lawmaker yesterday on an Instagram post and, saying that Duterte “knows what he’s doing.” Padilla added that despite the PHP200 billion (US$3.9 billion) budget set aside by the government for relief, the administration has “limited resources” and shouldn’t be pressured into disbursing funds all at once.
Padilla also defended the chief executive by saying that tax suspensions, as well as deferred payments on various utility bills that were imposed by private companies, are meant to help the middle class.
“The country’s resources are limited and we have no tax collection yet because the administration has suspended the TAX payment of WORKING CLASS…that [move] is clearly for the middle class,” Padilla said.
“The poorest of the poor are the hardest hit by this bigtime (sic) PLAGUE. If the welfare and health of the poor are not taken care of, then expect death on a massive scale,” he added.
Padilla has become a trending topic on Twitter today, where many netizens have sided with the governor, with people like @ymar_eden tweeting, “The message is clear – support not only the poor but also those who belong in the middle class. They’re also suffering. Equity, people. Equity. Do not focus on a single group.”
Remulla, who was previously criticized for COVID-19 “VIP” testing, tweeted this morning with a peace offering directed at the actor.
“Idol Robin Padilla. The least we can do is to give them [the working class] hope of surviving another day,” the governor wrote. “I am one with the President as you are. I serve at his pleasure and I am committed to the people of Cavite.”
This article, Actor Robin Padilla calls out Cavite Governor Remulla for asking Duterte to help middle class families, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!