Harry dismisses Leni, Isko's pandemic response criticisms, claims it's all 'politics'

Published September 6, 2021, 3:05 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque shrugged off Vice President LenI Robredo and Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso’s recent criticisms on the government’s response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Vice President Leni Robredo and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno (Photos from OVP, MANILA BULLETIN)

Roque, in a virtual press briefing Monday, Sept. 6, bluntly said that Robredo and Domagoso’s statements were all part of their posturing ahead of the May 2022 national elections. This, despite the lack of any formal announcement of a candidacy from the two opposition figures.

“Politika na po ngayon. Pilipinas, ‘wag niyo naman isipin na ang mga pangyayari ay hindi po kaugnay sa parating na pulitika natin (It’s already political season. Philippines, don’t think that these occurrences aren’t connected to our upcoming political exercise),” he said.

However, he seemed to expect such statements from the opposition since the elections will still push through despite the pandemic.

“Ang sinasabi ko lang po, kinakailangan po, mas maigting ang gamit ng utak kapag kayo po ay nakakarinig ng mga paratang. At pakinggan din naman ang sinasabi ng gobyerno (All I’m saying is, we need to be more discerning in the use of our brains whenever we hear accusations. The side of the govenrment must also be heard),” Roque said.

Between Robredo and Domagoso, the Palace official had thornier response to the former, and even mocked her in the light of the release of her “jingle”.

“Intindihin niyo na lang po, lahat ng manggagaling sa bibig si VP Leni, isabay niyo po ‘yan sa jingle niya na ipinatutugtog. At alam niyo na kung bakit sinasabi niya ‘yan (Please understand, everything that will come out of VP Leni’s mouth can be played alongside her jingle. And you know why she’s saying those things). It’s election 2020.

“In fairness maganda jingle niya, napapasayaw pa nga ayaw…Sayawan niyo muna jingle niya (she has a good jingle, I can’t help but dance to the beat…Go dance to it),” Roque said.

Robredo over the weekend slammed the Duterte administration for what she described as the leaderless way it has addressed the COVID-19. She went as far as to say that she would volunteer to handle the pandemic mess, but said she would need “blanket authority” from the administration to be effect.

Meanwhile, Roque was more cordial in his reply to Domagoso, who chided government for prioritizing the massive purchase of questionable face shields over medicines that can supposedly help treat COVID-19. He even called the Manila mayor his friend.

“Kaibigan ko po itong si Yorme, pero gaya po ni VP, eh kandidato rin po yan (Yorme is my friend, but like VP, he is also a candidate). Mark my word, hindia pa po nag-aanunsiyo yan pero sigurado po ako kandidato (he has yet to make an announcement, but he will be a candidate).

“Kaya asahan po natin itong mga ganitong salita dahil kinakailangan nilang ligawan ang mamamayan (That’s why we should expect these remarks because they need to woo the public),” Roque said.

Robredo and Domagoso are reportedly eyeing the presidency in next year’s polls.