MANILA — Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday addressed an insinuation that she was engaging in negative campaigning, saying she merely answered a media question when she called one of her rivals for the presidency a "liar."
Robredo, in an interview with veteran host Boy Abunda that was streamed on Wednesday, was asked why voters should not back other presidential contenders.
She called her rival former Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. a "liar" and a no-show during tough times, prompting his camp to assert that he would not engage in "negative and hateful campaigning."
“What presidential aspirant Bongbong Marcos is offering to the Filipino people is his unifying brand of leadership. He does not and will not engage in negative and hateful campaigning,” said Atty Vic Rodriguez on Wednesday night.
But Robredo said she merely answered the question.
"Ayoko nang dagdagan pa ‘yung conversation. Alam ko na may mga mara-ruffle ako na feathers pero tinatanong kasi ako eh. Ayoko naman na sumagot na parang umiiwas, sa akin lang ‘yung tanong, sinagot ko," Robredo said in a chance interview in Rizal province.
(I do no want to add more to the conversation. I know that feathers will be ruffled, but I was being asked. I did not want to answer evasively; for me, I just answered the question.)
"In my honest opinion, ‘yun talaga ‘yung palagay ko na kailangan ko isagot. Ready naman ako, ready ako pero para mag-react pa sa mga reaction nila, tingin ko hindi naman necessary na.
(That in my opinion is really how I should respond. I am ready to react to their reactions, but I think it's unnecessary.)
COVID-19 AND THE CAMPAIGN
The campaign period for national candidates kicks off on Feb. 8.
Asked about possibly visiting far-flung areas for her campaign, Robredo said, "Sobrang hirap kasi we have to deal with a lot of restrictions."
She said provinces have separate protocols on COVID-19 and her team need to ensure they would not bring infections.
"Nali-limit ‘yung opportunity, hindi gaya ng dati na 'pag naisipan mo, pwede mo na kaagad gawin. Ngayon hindi eh," said the Vice President.
(The opportunity is limited, unlike before when you think of something, you could immediately do it. That's not the case now.)
She added her team had to cancel its plans for the second half of December to focus on relief operations for typhoon Odette. She said the Office of the Vice President also changed its schedule this January to help fight the COVID-19 surge and turn over pending projects before the campaign period.
Robredo said her campaign volunteers are left to brainstorm activities on the ground and are requested to present their plans to her team.
"Gusto lang sana natin siguruhin na nagko-comply tayo with the protocols. Ang problema lang natin kasi, every so often, siyempre nagpapalit ‘yung protocols para din mag-adapt sa current situations," the presidential contender said.
(We just want to ensure that we comply with the protocols. Our problem is that every so often, the protocols change to adapt to current situations.)