VP urges Duterte spox to review her pandemic suggestions, hits polarizing comments

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 25 2020 01:33 PM

Vice President Leni Robredo and Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque. File

MANILA— Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday urged the spokesperson of President Rodrigo Duterte to review her suggestions on curbing the coronavirus pandemic after he challenged her to come up with a solution. 

"Siguro kailangan niya lang balikan lahat ng statements na ginawa ko kasi andoon iyong rekomendasyon," Robredo said in an interview on radio show Basta Batas. 

Robredo, the leader of the opposition, also urged Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque, her former college dorm mate, to issue "unifying" remarks during the health crisis instead of speaking along partisan lines. 

"Dapat sana sini-set aside sino ba iyong kakampi, sino ang hindi, iyong pagsabi na dilawan ito, h’wag papakinggan. Lalo niyang napo-polarize ang tao," she said. 

(He should set aside the issue of who's an ally, who is not, refrain from remarking, this politician is yellow, don't listen to him. He further polarizes the people.)

Roque earlier this week told Robredo: "Hinahamon ko po si VP Leni, kung mayroon siyang solusyon na walang vaccine at wala pa rin gamot, sabihin niya po dahil sigurado po baka ngayon din maging presidente siya kung makahanap siya ng solusyon habang walang bakuna at walang gamot."

(I am challenging VP Leni. If she has a solution (to COVID-19) that doesn't need a vaccine and a cure, reveal it and I'm sure she might just become president immediately if she could find one that doesn't need a vaccine or medicine.)

"Habang wala talagang bakuna, habang walang gamot, wala pa rin po talagang solusyon sa pandemyang ito," he said during a Palace press briefing. 

(Until there is no vaccine, no cure, there is really no solution to this pandemic.)

The Lancet medical journal recently identified 19 countries that contained their coronavirus outbreaks without a vaccine. The Philippines should study what these countries did, said Robredo. 

"Iyong datos ipinapakita na hindi mo kailangan maghintay sa vaccine. Papaano kung iyong vaccine dumating end of 2021 pa… 2022 pa? Nganga na lang tayo?" she said. 

(The data show that you do not need to wait for a vaccine. What if the vaccine arrives at the end of 2021, 2022? Will we just wait open-mouthed?) 

The Vice President earlier gave suggestions to the education department on distance learning and to the inter-agency task force on the coronavirus response. Robredo, an economist, later gave a speech on rescuing the economy.
But Duterte claimed in August that Robredo would "just destroy government." He told her: "Please do not add fuel to the fire."