MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday accused Vice President Leni Robredo of trying to be "relevant", after the latter called for the Chief Executive to be among the first to get inoculated against COVID-19.
Robredo earlier said this would boost public confidence in the Philippines' vaccination program, which started earlier Monday.
"Ikaw, sige ka ng salita diyan. Wala ka namang ginagawa. Sige ka issue-issue ng statement. You know [why]? Because you want to be relevant here. Gusto mo sumali sa laro na para pakinggan ka rin," Duterte said in an aired public briefing.
(You keep on chattering. You're not even doing anything. You keep issuing statements. You know why? Because you want to be relevant. You want to join the play so you'll be heard.)
The 75-year-old Duterte said he is going to follow "health protocol" and that he wants his doctor's advice on which vaccine brand to use due to his age.
"Sabi niya (Robredo) mauna ako ... masyado kang apurado," he said.
(She wants me to be first, you're so in a hurry.)
Duterte accused the Vice President of "baiting" him since she supposedly believes he has been vaccinated with the Presidential Security Group, who were injected with smuggled Chinese vaccines.
"Pagduda mo kasi tapos na ako, kaya you want me to go to a trap to saying things which are not appropriate," he said.
(You think that I've been vaccinated, so that's why you want me to go to a trap and say things which are not appropriate.)
Robredo has yet to comment on Duterte's statements.
The Philippines began its vaccination program the day after receiving its first supply of COVID-19 vaccines, courtesy of China's donation of 600,000 doses from Beijing-based drugmaker Sinovac Biotech.
The Food and Drug Administration earlier said it does not recommend the Sinovac vaccine for the elderly, although the Chinese drugmaker said it is effective for seniors.
Duterte said his doctor was considering his possible use of a vaccine by another Chinese pharmaceutical group. His spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said the President preferred getting COVID-19 vaccine shots from Chinese state firm Sinopharm.