By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang defended anew President Duterte’s remark against Vice President Leni Robredo, saying there was no malice in it as it was just an observation of someone with much government experience.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement after Robredo said that Duterte should focus on the economy instead of insulting her.
In his Thursday press briefing, Roque said that while they acknowledge that the Vice President may be hurt by Duterte calling her incompetent, he reiterated that Duterte’s assessment was just based on his experience.
“Alam ko pong nasaktan kayo pero ang assessment po ni Presidente (I know that you were hurt by it but the President’s assessment) is an assessment of one who has served almost 30 years in an elective position, in addition to his 10 years being a public prosecutor,” he said.
“Maybe we should look into the merits of what he said. Especially since, alam nating lahat na ang experience ni Vice President (Especially since we all know that the Vice President’s experience in government) is three years as a Congresswoman, and two years as a Vice President,” he added.
Roque then said that there was no malice and he believes that Duterte’s “honest” remarks were not an insult.
“So, wala naman pong malisya doon sa (there’s no malice in the) assessment. It’s just a frank, honest, objective assessment of the President,” he said.
“It’s not an insult. It’s an objective assessment of a person who has served 40 years in government,” he added.
The Palace official also reiterated that if Duterte thinks that Robredo is fit to lead the country, the President would not have asked the Consultative Committee (ConCom) to draft a provision which calls for an election of new leaders during the transition from the unitary type of government to a federal one.
Duterte earlier said that he will not resign as it will make Robredo president. He explained that Robredo is incompetent and will not be ready to lead the country.
Nothing wrong with economy
Meanwhile, Roque also addressed Robredo’s statement that Duterte should just focus on the country’s economy instead of insulting her.
“Unang-una po wala po tayong problema sa ekonomiya. Sabi ko na nga po, paulit-ulit (First of all, we have no problem with the economy. As I repeatedly said), and it’s a matter of record, we are the second fastest growing economy in the world, level optimism is all-time high, manufacturing output is all-time high,” he said.
While admitting that the country’s inflation rate is quite high, Roque said that it is due to the increase in the price of oil in the world market; the increase in the price of rice; and the amount of money in circulation because of the tax reform, the free tuition, and the money used to fund budgets under the “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program.
Roque also said that while there may be other challenges like the US-China trade war, it will have minimal effect in the country as assured by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
“Pero otherwise, all economies in the world po will agree that we are a darling economy,” he said.