The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday, June 15, said presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio had an “overreaction” on what was a “simple observation” from the country’s second-highest official.
Lawyer Barry Gutierrez, spokesperson of Robredo, clarified that the vice president was not attacking the younger Duterte.
“To be very clear there was no attack on Mayor Duterte. It was a simple observation. The cases in Davao are rising and all she said maybe they can take some lessons from the way that Cebu City handled its own surge,” he said in an interview with Dateline Philippines on ANC.
On Sunday, Robredo said on her weekly radio show over dzXL that Davao City can learn from Cebu City in terms of curbing the COVID-19 surge in their province.
Cebu experienced the same surge from January to March this year. Robredo said the participation of the private sector and the medical community led to the success of Metro Cebu in stopping the surge.
“Completely an overreaction, no attack involved here. Just an honest-to-goodness suggestion which I supposed a lot of other people have also made. It’s telling the immediate reaction is to jump and frame this as an election issue,” Gutierrez said, reacting to Sara’s statement that Robredo should start attacking her performance as local chief executive “if she dares to run for president.”
The spokesman was perplexed why the Davao City mayor was talking about the elections when she said she’s not running as president.
“Why so defensive? Why immediately jump to let us make it to the elections. Besides, Mayor Duterte has been saying she’s not running. All of a sudden she is saying we will meet in the elections,” Gutierrez said.
Duterte-Carpio said on more than one occasion that she’s not going to run as president since her father, President Duterte, already said the presidency is not for a woman and he’s not in favor of it.
Gutierrez lamented her words that Robredo was simply politicizing Davao City’s COVID-19 response when “the first person to talk about elections is Mayor Duterte and now, Secretary Roque.”
In his last Monday’s virtual briefing, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque on Tuesday seconded Duterte-Carpio’s remarks about the vice president.
“That has been the constant refrain of this administration and its allies,” Gutierrez noted.
“It is nothing new. We are used to it. As far as the vice president is concerned, she is doing her job. She is trying to help. She would continue to do so regardless of reaction like this,” he said.