Vice President Leni Robredo’s spokesman on Thursday, May 27, belied the claim of Presidential spokesman Harry Roque who said that the vice president wants to make a vaccine infomercial with President Duterte, slamming the official’s political agenda.
In a statement, lawyer Ibarra Gutierrez maintained that Robredo is willing to do the infomercial, as suggested by Senator Joel Villanueva last week.
“The Vice President simply expressed her willingness to do it to improve vaccination confidence, which remains alarmingly low. She has always been ready to set aside politics and do what is necessary to help our fellow Filipinos,” he said.
“Based on this statement from last night’s Cabinet briefing, it is sadly clear that this administration will always put politics first, and will even lie to push its own agenda,” Gutierrez added.
During the President’s prerecorded public address aired late Wednesday night, Roque wrongfully claimed that Robredo “volunteered” to do the infomercial with Duterte because vaccinations are increasing.
The Palace spokesman noted that the vice president has been critical of the government’s vaccination program in the past.
“Pero I think ngayon po, ngayong napapakita natin na dumadami na’ng nagbabakuna, eh bigla namang nagvolunteer, gusto raw niyang umappear sa infomercial kasama kayo. Sa loob-loob ko, ‘matapos tayo siraan nang siraan, eh ngayong nagiging matagumpay ang ating vaccinations, eh makikisama ngayon (But I think now that we have shown that the vaccinations are increasing, suddenly she volunteers. She says she wants to appear in an infomercial with you. I thought: ‘After discrediting us repeatedly, now that our vaccinations are becoming successful, she’s trying to join us’),” he said.
It was Villanueva, however, who suggested that the country’s top two elected officials make the infomercial to improve vaccine confidence as latest surveys showed that less than 50 percent of the population is willing to get vaccinated, regardless of the vaccine brand.
Roque is taking offense to the fact that Robredo supported a healthcare workers’ alliance that called for a review of China’s Sinovac vaccine after the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) gave it an emergency use authorization (EUA) even without a positive recommendation from the Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC).
But Robredo explained that she simply wants all vaccine to go through the same process required of Pfizer and AstraZeneca, the first two vaccines to be given an EUA by the FDA.
In the end, Gutierrez shrugged off claims of his counterpart in Malacañang.
“Regardless, VP Leni’s position remains the same — she has been working non-stop to help Filipinos overcome the various difficulties brought by COVID-19, and will always be ready to do more to serve our people,” he said.