'Duterte lacks focus on govt’s pandemic response,' says Robredo

Published September 6, 2021, 2:27 PM

by Raymund Antonio

It seems to Vice President Leni Robredo that President Duterte “lacks focus” on the government’s pandemic response as she urges his administration to pour available resources into COVID-19 programs.

Vice President Leni Robredo and President Rodrigo Duterte (Malacañang)

“‘Pag pinapakinggan ko and binabasa ko ‘yung transcript (ng press conferences) may sense ako na hindi niya alam lahat ng detalye, so ang tingin ko lang kulang sa pagtutok sa detalye (When I listen and read the transcript [of the press conferences], I have a sense that he doesn’t know the details, so I think he lacks focus on the details),” she said on ANC’s Headstart on Monday, September 6.

“The last two press conferences were really quite frustrating for us kasi nasa (because we are in the) middle tayo ng (of a) surge na kailangan (that we need) all hands on deck. Iyong (The) urgency is really most important now tapos ang (then the) greater part of the press conference is pinupuna ‘yung mga senador, pinupuna yung COA (criticizing the senators, criticizing the COA),” Robredo added.

Duterte repeatedly lambasted Senators Richard Gordon and Panfilo Lacson for grilling the Department of Health (DOH) during Senate inquiries into the anomalous government contracts it entered into with a shady pharmaceutical company, Pharmally, for billions worth of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies.

READ: Duterte slams ‘talkative, show-off’ Gordon

The President also ranted against the Commission on Audit (COA) for flagging several government agencies for “deficiencies” in its management of COVID-19 funds.

If she had it her way, Robredo said she will look into how much money is left in the government’s coffers after seeing the COA reports.

“Ano ba iyong available na pera, itatabi natin ‘yun sa ano ba ‘yung pinakakailangan. Halimbawa ang isa sa pinakakailangan ngayon yung pagasikaso sa healthcare workers natin (How much is the available money, we will set that aside to what we really need. For example, one of our biggest needs now is to take care of our health care workers),” Robredo said.

READ: DOH, RITM budget cuts ‘don’t make sense’, says Robredo

Despite her criticisms of the government’s pandemic response, she doesn’t see it’s because of the “lack of effort” by government agencies.

The vice president said she has seen these agencies work since her office has partnered with some of them in past projects.

“Iyong pag-interweave ng mga efforts ng iba-iba iyon ang kulang (The interweaving of efforts of others is what’s missing),” Robredo noted.