The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo slammed President Rodrigo Duterte Wednesday for calling her incompetent and unfit to be a president.
“Incompetent? Look who’s talking,” Robredo’s legal adviser Barry Gutierrez said.
He hit Duterte for the problems that continue to beset the country, such as rising inflation, a weaker peso, the plan to borrow P1.19 trillion from local and foreign creditors in 2019 and the worsening traffic woes.
Inflation, he said, had risen to 5.2 percent while the price of rice has reached P42 a kilo. The exchange rate, on the other hand, has dropped to P53.51 to a US dollar.
Gutierrez also took a dig at the President for his refusal to assert the rights of Filipinos to fish in Scarborough Shoal in the West Philippine Sea and the continuing spate of killings.
In an interview with reporters in Clark, Pampanga, Duterte said: “I dont’ think she [Robredo] will be ready to govern a country. Reason? Incompetence. She is not capable of running a country like the Philippines.”
Robredo, who is working to unite the opposition for next year’s elections, shot back: “I don’t want to dignify his statement, but I would just say that instead of him insulting me or God, he should just focus on our economic woes.”
The Palace on Wednesday compared the President’s almost 30 years in government against Robredo’s limited exposure.
“That assessment by the President that the VP is incompetent, we cannot take that away [from him] because he has been serving the government for 30 years and maybe he has his own standards and guidelines on who’s competent and who’s not,” said Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque in an interview on Radyo Pilipinas.
“He just voiced out his opinion. We should respect it because that is an observation from a person who has been in government service for such a long time,” he added.
Robredo earlier said uniting the opposition would make their voices better heard.
Duterte, who is pushing for a shift to a federal form of government, said Robredo’s term should end before the transition to the federal charter.
Earlier, he said he was willing to step down before his term ends once the federal constitution is approved.
But he ruled out Robredo as a leader during the transition, saying she was incompetent.
Liberal Party president Senator Francis Pangilinan also came to Robredo’s defense.
“Two years since she has been elected, VP Robredo has focused her attention on helping the poor help themselves. Without a Cabinet position, she has marshaled partners from the private sector to extend P252 million worth of aid for 155,000 families through her Angat Buhay program,” Pangilinan said in a statement Wednesday.
Pangilinan emphasized that Robredo displayed her capability through compassionate, empowering, and responsible leadership, tagging Duterte’s remarks as “unfortunate given that they are untrue and more so because they digress from the core issues that hound Filipinos every day.”
Senator Panfilo Lacson, meanwhile, said it was difficult to measure Robredo’s performance since she was removed from the Cabinet fairly early.
“In short, she was relegated to a mere spare tire, waiting for the President to die or be incapacitated, which is unfortunate considering that she was elected along with the President, So regardless of party affiliations, they should be working together for our country’s sake,” Lacson said.
Lacson also said Robredo should have defined her role much earlier or right after she was taken out of her appointive position, which is to be the acknowledged and undisputed leader of the opposition.
“I thought she was somehow tentative in assuming that role, and the people, even those opposing the administration could see through that,” he said. With Vito Barcelo