By Raymund Antonio
Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday laughed off the remarks by Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo that she should rely on her instincts as a lawyer and mother of the nation in commenting about the South China Sea dispute.
In her weekly radio show “BISErbisyong Leni,” Robredo said it was her obligation as a public official to voice out her concerns on the issue especially if this was detrimental to the country.
Robredo found President Rodrigo Duterte’s remarks about China asking the Philippines to ignore the 2016 arbitral ruling in favor of a joint oil and gas exploration ”profoundly disappointing and extremely irresponsible.”
In his reply, Panelo advised Robredo to be “more circumspect” in her public statement on the matter and “rely more on her instinct as a lawyer and mother protective of those she is constitutionally tasked to shepherd.”
“Kailangan natin magboses kahit magalit pa sila sa atin. Itong statement na ito, ang implikasyon saka reperecussion napalaki hindi lang sa atin pero sa future generations,” Robredo said.
(We need to make our voices be heard even they get offended. This statement has a big implication and repercussion not only to us, but also to future generations.)
The Vice President said it was laughable that Panelo countered her, citing Duterte clearly stated the Philippines will set aside the legal victory on the maritime dispute.
“Hindi ito para tsinambahan natin. Bago tayo naglabas ng pahayag, tiningnan natin lahat ng transcript. Klarong klaro iyong sinabi ng Pangulo,” Robredo, who is the leader of the opposition, said.
(We didn’t do it by chance. Before we made a comment, we looked at all the transcript. The President was clear in his statement.)
“Nakakatawa na sinabi niya gamitin iyong instincts ko as a lawyer, saka iyong maternal instincts ko. Precisely iyon nga ginamit ko kaya nag-make ako ng statement kasi nakakabahala iyong pahayag,” she added.
(It’s laughable he said I should use my instincts as a lawyer as well as my maternal instincts. Precisely I made use of those instincts that’s why I made a statement because his remark was alarming.)
The lady official also questioned why Panelo had contradicted Duterte’s statement about the maritime dispute with China.
The presidential spokesperson clarified the Duterte’s latest remark about ignoring the arbitral ruling, saying “he did not say that Philippines will drop the claim.”
In July 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled in favor of the Philippines, ruling that China had no historical rights to the resource-rich waters. But Beijing has refused to recognize the decision.
“Totoo iyong litong lito talaga ako. Kasi ang sinasabi ng Pangulo, iba sa sinasabi niya (It is true I’m really confused. Because President’s statement was different to his),” she said.
“Iyong pinakatanong lang ano ba talaga. Tingin ko hindi lang ako ‘yung nalilito pero marami pang ibang tao. Ano ba talaga ‘yung gustong sabihin,” Robredo added.
(The main question is what they really want to say. I think I’m not the only one confused, but also the other people. What do they really mean?)