They may belong to different political camps, but Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo was not deliberately picking a fight with Vice President Leni Robredo just to ruin her day.
In his “Counterpoint program” Saturday, Panelo explained that he was merely responding to Robredo’s criticisms about the administration after she supposedly complained of his attacks against her.
After his stint as the President’s spokesman last year, Panelo started hosting a daily commentary program where he not only highlights government programs, but also responds to people criticizing the administration. The one-hour program, where Panelo, in his bespoke suit sits behind a desk, is shown on state television, as well as the government’s official Facebook pages.
“Nagrereklamo na nga sa atin si VP Leni bakit naman daw pinupulaan ko pa siya o binabanatan. Hindi naman kita binabanatan (VP Leni has actually complained to us why am I criticizing her. I’m not criticizing you),” Panelo said Saturday, Feb. 13.
“Sinasagot ko lang mga birada mo. kasi kung mali naman, siyempre kailangan ipaalam natin sa iyo (I am just responding to your attacks. Because if it is wrong, of course I need to tell you),” he added.
In the same program, Panelo mentioned that an online petition seeking the retirement of Robredo from politics was gaining ground.
He said while Robredo’s supporters have already launched a petition pushing for her presidential bid next year, a counter petition on “We don’t like Leni as President” has also been filed online. More than 67,000 have signed the petition titled “I am ready for Leni to retire from politics.”
The petition has reportedly exceeded its target, and now aims to get to 75,000.
The pro-Robredo movement dubbed “I am ready for Leni,” on the other hand, has garnered more than 41,000 signatures so far.
Panelo, in his past commentaries, took a swipe at Robredo for her alleged baseless criticisms against the government’s pandemic response. He also previously advised the vice president to perform her job without seeking publicity.
Robredo and Panelo are actually town mates. The Palace official also hails from Naga City, Camarines Sur.