Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday called out President Duterte for his remark seemingly “extorting” a longtime Philippine ally, the United States, to retain the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the Philippines.
“Parang extortion lang. Parang kriminal eh. Kung gusto mo nito, magbayad ka muna (It looked like an extortion. It seemed like an act of a criminal. If you want this, you have to pay),” she said during her weekly radio show.
On Friday, the Chief Executive remarked the U.S must pay if it wanted to keep the military deal with the Philippines. Duterte said the U.S has purportedly been taking “so much from us” while much of the demands of the Philippines were not met.
He had previously threatened the U.S on the VFA issue in his bid to secure the U.S-made coronavirus vaccine for the country.
The vice president said this is not the way to treat the U.S, which she cited as a Philippine “friend and partner for many generations.”
Robredo even called it as an “embarrassing” statement from Duterte.
The opposition leader stressed the administration should lay down concrete reasons if it did not want to renew the agreement and show why it is not beneficial to Filipinos.
“Hindi pera iyong konsiderasyon (Money should not be the consideration),” Robredo said.
“Nakabase ito sa mutual benefit ng parehong parties to a contract. Hindi naman dahil ‘Kaibigan kita kung bigyan mo ako ng pera’ (This is based on mutual benefit of both parties to a contract. It’s not because ‘you’re a friend because you gave me money’),” she added.