Detained opposition senator Leila de Lima on Thursday said Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo was “out of touch” in denying the existence of a transportation crisis in Metro Manila.

In a “dispatch” from her cell in Camp Crame, de Lima said the Duterte government was obviously refusing to take responsibility for the “deteriorating state of mobility in Metro Manila.”

“Spokesperson Salvador Panelo is obviously out of touch with the dismal state of mass transportation in the country, particularly in Metro Manila. He has the gall to say there is no transportation crisis,” wrote the lawmaker, detained over drug charges that she claims were trumped up to silence her criticism of the drug war.

De Lima said the administration’s priorities were out of place as it had “chosen to give the lion’s share of the confidential and intelligence fund to the President when it could have augmented the needs of mass transportation and other urgent concerns like public health and poverty alleviation.”

“Tell me, Mr. Panelo, is there anything humane with leaving the house at 3:00 in the morning just to arrive on time at work? Is there anything dignifying with commuters cramming themselves inside trains with barely enough room to breathe just so they won’t receive salary deductions for tardiness?”

Panelo has drawn flak for downplaying commuters’ woes, even telling the riding public on Tuesday to leave home earlier to get to their destinations on time.

Asked is he agreed with militant group Bayan’s statement that the was a mass transportation crisis in the metropolis following breakdowns and closures of railway lines, Panelo told reporters: “Wala (None). Kasi nga makakarating pa naman `yung mga dapat makarating sa kanilang pupuntahan (Everyone is still able to reach their destinations).”

“[M]ay solusyon naman duon e (There’s a solution there). If you want to go… arrive early in your destination, then you go there earlier,” he added.

Panelo, however, has accepted a challenge from Bayan to ride public transportation to Malacañang on Friday. (