Duterte, Robredo in vaccine ad? Palace says VP must clarify position on Chinese vaccines

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 21 2021 02:04 PM | Updated as of May 21 2021 03:01 PM

Duterte, Robredo in vaccine ad? Palace says VP must clarify position on Chinese vaccines 1
President Rodrigo Duterte meets with Vice President Leni Robredo at the Malacañan Palace on July 4, 2016. VP Leni Robredo Media Bureau/File

MANILA — Vice President Leni Robredo must clarify her stand on COVID-19 vaccines developed by China, Malacañang said on Friday, in relation to a suggestion that she and President Rodrigo Duterte appear in an infomercial to boost public confidence in the jabs. 

Sen. Joel Villanueva on Thursday suggested that Robredo and Duterte work together on a public service announcement to encourage the public to get vaccinated against COVID-19 

"Unang-una po, linawin natin kung talagang tatanggapin ng Vice President ang lahat ng bakuna kasi nagkaroon siya ng mga unang deklarasyon na mukhang hindi rin siya approve sa mga Chinese vaccine at pinulitika rin po ‘yan issue na ‘yan," said Duterte's spokesman Harry Roque. 

"Para bagang may kapalit iyong ating WPS (West Philippine Sea) issue dito sa mga bakuna. Linawin muna natin kung anong paninindigan talaga ni VP Robredo," he said in a televised public briefing. 

(First of all, let us clarify if the Vice President will accept all vaccines because she had earlier declaration in which she seemed to disapprove of Chinese vaccines, and that issue was politicized. It was as if the WPS issue was exchanged for vaccines. Let us clarify VP Robredo's stand first.) 

PALACE POLITICKING? 

Robredo is "open" to cooperate with the Palace to encourage more people to get vaccinated, said her spokesman Barry Gutierrez. 

"Kung hanggang sa simpleng bagay na ito hindi kayang isantabi ng Malacanang ang pamumulitika, sa kanila na iyon," he said in a statement.

"Matagal nang kumikilos si VP Leni, at lagi siyang handang tumulong. Kung handa na rin sila, nariyan lang siya." 

(If Malacañang cannot set aside politicking even in this simple matter, that's on them. VP Leni has long been taking action, and she is always ready to help. If they are ready, too, she is just there.) 

Robredo in March backed the call of health workers for a review of the COVID-19 vaccine from Beijing-based Sinovac Biotech over conflicting reports on its effectivity. 

Sinovac shots make up the bulk of some 8.279 million COVID-19 shots that the Philippines has received so far. 

Officials have repeatedly said the vaccine supply was a separate issue from the maritime dispute between the Philippines and China.

Beijing refuses to acknowledge a 2016 arbitral ruling that junked its claims to almost the entire South China Sea, within which is the smaller West Philippine Sea. 

Duterte has repeatedly said he preferred vaccines from China. Earlier this May, he took a COVID-19 shot from Chinese state firm Sinopharm, one of 1,000 jabs that Beijing donated. 

Robredo this week received a dose of the coronavirus vaccine from Britain's Oxford-AstraZeneca

 

Video courtesy of PTV