Busuttil refuses to comment on blogger's attacks on Mario de Marco

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil refuses to comment on attacks against the PN deputy leader by blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia

Simon Busuttil non-committal on bloggers attack on deputy
Simon Busuttil non-committal on bloggers attack on deputy
Photo by James Bianchi/MediaToday
Photo by James Bianchi/MediaToday

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil would not be drawn on the attacks made against his deputy leader Mario de Marco, who has been accused of being absent.

Asked for a reaction by MaltaToday on whether de Marco was living up to expectations, Busuttil refused to comment, simply saying "Mario de Marco remains the PN's deputy leader".

"We all know what he was through and he has my understanding," he said.

Busuttil refused to comment on the statements made by blogger and The Malta Independent columnist, Daphne Caruana Galizia, who accused De Marco of being absent and not contributing to the party's efforts..

He however entertained questions on maverick PN candidate Salvu Mallia and said that the outspoken former TV presenter was making a “big contribution” to the party.

He also said that the decision to reinstate candidates on the party media was the party’s prerogative in its efforts to counter Labour’s spin and propaganda.

Photo by James Bianchi/MediaToday
Photo by James Bianchi/MediaToday

Busuttil was addressing the media following a visit to the Fexserv offices, where he was given a briefing on the company's new mobile payment system Myney.

The PN deputy leader took to Facebook yesterday to justify his “absence” from the political sphere, saying his absence from the public sphere was in no way due to a lack of commitment towards the PN but due to the fact that he has had to recover from two major surgeries.

“I will be the first to admit that 2015 and 2016 have not been easy years for me for health reasons that I assumed were known to most, but regrettably it seems, not to all,” he wrote. “I have undergone two major surgeries, other relatively minor interventions, had to get to grips with a facial paralysis, undertook several MRI scans and visited some eight times the UK for my out-patient appointments.”

In her blog on Monday, Caruana Galizia wrote that, although she liked De Marco – who she had known since their schooldays – on a personal level, she was unimpressed by his contribution and that of many other opposition MPs “to the good fight to turf those corrupt knaves, villains and blackguards out of the seat of power”.

She said people needed to be reminded that De Marco was still in parliament and the party’s deputy leader,

“Mario De Marco and other Nationalist MPs seem to be going out of their way to communicate the message that it is irrelevant to them whether the Nationalist Party wins the upcoming general election or not.”

In his post, De Marco said that throughout his medical ordeal, he had attended to the best of his abilities his parliamentary, party and professional duties. Despite requiring surgical tape to hike up an otherwise paralysed side of his mouth, he said, he never shied away from his duties or debates.

“I believe in a degree of personal privacy and hoped my sporadic but needed and justified absence would go unnoticed or be understood. Regrettably it seems that this was not the case as evident from recent comments online over the last few days.”

Also writing on Facebook, the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff Keith Schembri, who has also recently been in the news because of health issues, said he empathised with De Marco.

“I understand and empathize with Mario De Marco and know what he is going through. Some battles are not fought in public. Human dignity is subservient to no one,” Schembri wrote.

But Schembri’s comment triggered Caruana Galizia’s ire once again, prompting her to post a new message late last night, switching her focus on to Schembri.

“Too many people on this benighted island want to have their cake, eat it and bake it again. They want to block their public position while they take their time recovering – in Schembri’s case on a public salary, refuse to keep the public informed of the current state of affairs, and then also tell the public that they have no right to know, demanding privacy,” she wrote

Caruana Galizia said that if Schembri wanted privacy, he should resign his public position.

“And if you don’t want to fight your battles in public, get out of your public post.”

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