President Rodrigo Duterte has described Vice President Leni Robredo as weak when it comes to strategy, stressing he will not hand her the presidency amid health issues about him.
“I will not resign to give it to [her]. In all honesty, even her public statements, I do not mean to offend the lady. She’s very good, she’s gentle. But, Leni is weak,” Duterte told members of the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association in his speech at Malacañang Thursday evening.
Within hours, Robredo slammed Duterte for saying she was a “weak” leader, saying there was no valid and justifiable reason why the President should underestimate her.
“Nobody wants the President to get sick. But being sick is not a reason to belittle me,” she said.
Thursday, Duterte admitted he went through a medical checkup, and that his attending physicians found a growth in his digestive tract.
“It is not my want to politicize [things]. I would rather want to keep quiet and just work. But this is all what I have to say, courage, strength and [leadership] skill cannot be attained with hurtful words,” Robredo said.
“What the people need is courage in deeds,” she added.
She said the President should act on the problems of the country, instead of blaming others and the previous administration, critics and “me.”
“We as leaders took our oath [of office] to work for the betterment of the people,” she said.
Duterte, who since belittled Robredo’s competence to govern the country, said the opposition leader lacked the strategic skill to handle the country’s problems.
“If there’s a situation, and she needs to decide, she’ll make the wrong decision. She’s weak when it comes to strategy, but she’s not stupid because she passed the bar,” said the President.
In the same speech, Duterte had alluded to cancer after admitting he attended another medical checkup on Wednesday, resulting in his sudden absence in a scheduled presidential activity.
Under the Article VII, Section 8 of the Constitution, “In case of death, permanent disability, removal from office, or resignation of the President, the Vice President shall become the President to serve the unexpired term.”
In the past few months, Duterte had previously said Robredo was not fit to be the next head of the State, stating he would prefer former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. or Senator Francis Escudero as his possible successor.”‹