MANILA — Malacañang alleged on Thursday that Vice President Leni Robredo was politicking, an accusation that her camp threw at the allies of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Robredo's office on Wednesday said the Duterte administration spends more time criticizing her than working on the country's problems. This, after the President told her on Monday to "maybe shut up" after she called for further review on a COVID-19 vaccine from China.
"Hindi namin siya pinag-aaksayahan ng panahon," said Palace spokesman Harry Roque.
"Patuloy po ang aming pagtratrabaho, samantalang Si VP Leni po ay namumulitika at nangangampanya na para maging Presidente sa pamamagitan ng kaniyang walang tigil na birada sa administrasyon," Roque said in a press briefing.
(We don't waste time on her. We work continuously, while VP Leni is politicking and campaigning to be President through her endless tirades against the administration.)
In reply, the Vice President's spokesman Barry Gutierrez tweeted screenshots of articles about Duterte calling his former aide Sen. Bong Go as "president," and tarpaulins urging the President's daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio to run in the 2022 elections.
The screenshots also included articles on Roque's denial that he would run in next year's election and his "crowded" event in Cebu province that allegedly violated COVID-19 protocols.
"Sino nga ulit ang namumulitika at nangangampanya SA GITNA NG PANDEMYA? Lantarang lokohan na ito eh," Gutierrez said.
(Who again is politicking and campaigning in the middle of a pandemic? This is overt deception.)
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.
Robredo echoed the concerns of some health workers regarding the lack of a positive recommendation for said vaccine from the country's Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC) even as it had been granted emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration.
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.
Duterte has repeatedly rejected Robredo's suggestions to curb the pandemic.
Last week, he told Robredo to "bring a basket" and shop for vaccines, prompting the Vice President to call him "pikon" or short-tempered.
Robredo had said the 2022 elections "should be the last thing in our minds" during this difficult time, and asked her supporters to instead raise funds for those severely hit by the pandemic.
Video courtesy of PTV
politicking, coronavirus vaccine, COVID vaccine, Philippines vaccine, COVID-19, COVID, coronavirus, coronavirus Philippines, COVID Philippines, COVID Philippines February, COVID Philippines IATF, COVID Philippines report, Leni Robredo, Rodrigo Duterte, Duterte, Harry Roque, Barry Gutierrez, Philippine politics, 2022 elections