Duterte, Robredo spokespersons tangle on infomercial proposal

Published May 27, 2021, 3:48 PM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Despite being called out, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque insisted that Vice President Leni Robredo initiated the idea of appearing in an infomercial with President Duterte when it was Senator Joel Villanueva who suggested the idea.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque and Vice President Leni Robredo

Roque made the statement after Robredo’s spokesman Ibarra Gutierrez belied Roque’s claim that the Vice President wants to make a vaccine infomercial with President Duterte.

In his press briefing on Thursday, it was reiterated to Roque that the infomercial suggestion came from Villanueva and that Robredo merely expressed openness to the idea.

However, he said that to him, the Vice President was really pushing for the infomercial.

“That (Gutierrez) is his perception,” he said.

“Ang tingin ko po (To me), it was really volunteering,” he added.

On Wednesday evening, Roque erroneously claimed that Robredo was volunteering to join the government’s vaccination campaign, a remark that did not receive any response from President Duterte based on the delayed telecast of the latter’s weekly public address.

“Ang sabi po ng ating Bise Presidente, nais po daw niyang makasama kayo sa infomercial para sa vaccine confidence (The Vice President said she wanted to join you in an infomercial for vaccine confidence),” Roque told the President.

“Ang sabi ko po, eh, I’m sure pag-aaralan ninyo kung anong kontribusyon na maibibigay ng partisipasyon ng ating Bise Presidente dahil alam naman po natin siya po ay isa sa pinakamaingay na kritiko sa lahat ng ating ginawa kasama dito sa vaccination (I said I’m sure you will look into what her participaton can contribute because we know she was one of the noisiest critics of our vaccination program),” he added.

Initially, Robredo said she was willing to appear in an infomercial with Duterte. Roque, on the other hand, said the Vice President needed to be clear with her stand about vaccination first, claiming she was biased against Chinese brands. Robredo denied Roque’s claim, saying she only wanted vaccines to go through the right process.