MANILA — Vice President Leni Robredo's office on Tuesday said the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte "spends more time" lambasting her than tackling national problems.
"This administration spends more time attacking Leni Robredo than responding to the real, urgent problems of our people and nation," said Barry Gutierrez, spokesman of the Office of the Vice President.
"Kulelat tayo sa pagkuha ng bakuna? Awayin si Leni Robredo. Mabagal ang pagtugon sa bagyo at baha? Siraan si Leni Robredo. Milyon milyon ang nawalan ng trabaho? Insultuhin si Leni Robredo," Gutierrez said in a statement.
(We are last in getting vaccines? Fight with Leni Robredo. Slow in responding to typhoon and floods? Malign Leni Robredo. Millions lost their jobs? Insult Leni Robredo.)
"Tapos sila daw ang 'hindi namumulitika?' Sa kanila na 'yang puro paninisi, itutuloy na lang namin ang trabaho," added Gutierrez.
(And they say they're not politicking? We leave the blame game to them. We will just continue working.)
Duterte, in a televised speech late Monday, told Robredo to "maybe shut up" after she called for further review on the COVID-19 vaccine from China's Sinovac Biotech.
Last week, he told Robredo to "bring a basket" and shop for vaccines, prompting the Vice President to call him "pikon" or short-tempered.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said Duterte's outburst was prompted by Robredo's support for the call of healthcare workers for a review of Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccine by the Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC).
Roque said the HTAC is only "recommendatory".
Duterte said Robredo should just help the government in convincing the people that vaccines are safe, instead of questioning their safety.
"Imbes na magtulong... (Instead of helping) to convince the people, here she comes and making it appear that government has failed in its mandate of securing (a recommendation)," he said.
The Philippines last week launched its inoculation drive after the arrival of 600,000 COVID-19 shots from Beijing-based Sinovac Biotech, which China donated.
Among the hardest-hit in Asia by the coronavirus pandemic, the Philippines later received 525,600 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, courtesy of the COVAX Facility, that seeks to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 shots.