By Raymund Antonio
Vice President Leni Robredo said on Thursday President Rodrigo Duterte should more focus on the country’s pressing problems instead of engaging in partisan politics.
Robredo, who served briefly as housing chief in the current administration, reminded Duterte of their mandate until 2022 to serve their country and the Filipino people.
“Ako kasi, ayaw kong mag-react. Ayaw kong patulan iyong ganiyang mga statements kasi hindi nman iyan nakakatulong,” she said in an interview with the Bicol Press Club in Naga City.
(For me, I don’t want to react. I did not want to dignify those statements because they’re not helpful.)
This was Robredo’s reply when asked for her reaction on President Rodrigo Duterte’s remark that Naga City, her hometown, was once a “hotbed of shabu (crystal meth).”
Duterte tagged Naga City as a breeding ground of shabu after he questioned once again Robredo’s leadership ability to the run the country in case he leaves the presidency.
The Vice President denied Duterte’s claim about Naga, telling him that they should instead both work together for the betterment of the country.
“Ang daming problema ng bansa; asikasuhin na lang iyong problema ng bansa kaysa pulitika parati. Kasi kaming dalawa hinalal until 2022,” said Robredo.
(The country has many problems; [he should] focus on the country’s problems instead of always playing politics. Both of us were elected until 2022.)
“Obligasyon namin pareho na gawin iyong lahat naming makakaya para sa bayan, kasi iyon iyong mandato sa amin. Kaysa mag-aksaya ng panahon nang hindi naman totoo iyong mga sinasabi, magtrabaho na lang kami pareho,” she added.
(It is both our obligation to do everything we can for the sake of the country because that’s our mandate. Instead of wasting time saying untruthful statements, we should go to work.)
Meanwhile, the Robredo camp is quite convinced Duterte will not step down from office because former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. can’t his take place in Malacañang.
Robredo’s legal counsel Romulo Macalintal is so sure Duterte will not resign, with the impending victory of his client in the electoral protest filed by Marcos against her.
“Insofar as we are concerned, President Duterte’s resignation will never happen because Mr. Marcos will never win his electoral protest,” Macalintal said in a statement sent to reporters on Thursday.
The veteran lawyer showed his confidence in response to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque’ statement that Duterte was ready to resign if Marcos wins his election case.
In a Palace event, the President remarked he was ready to step down from office if the right leader will replace him preferably not Robredo, his constitutional successor.
Duterte then claimed his choice successors would either be former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Senator Francis Escudero, who were both defeated by Robredo in the 2016 vice presidential race.