MANILA - Detained Sen. Leila de Lima "must be hallucinating" when she asked President Rodrigo Duterte to let Vice President Leni Robredo take over government, Malacañang said Thursday.
"De Lima must be hallucinating. Could be the result of her incarceration. I pity her. I'm praying for her health," Duterte's spokesman Salvador Panelo said.
De Lima, one of Duterte's staunch critics, had said Wednesday that the President should admit that he could no longer fulfill his responsibilities as head of government instead of simply challenging Robredo to serve as drug czar for 6 months.
"That is the only manly way to stay true to your challenge to VP Robredo to fix what you have not been able to fix the past 3 years of your miserable term," De Lima said in a dispatch sent from her cell, where she has been held on drug charges since February 2017.
The lawmaker made the call after Duterte challenged Robredo to lead the government's narcotics crackdown in light of the vice president's criticism that the flagship program is "obviously, not working."
Panelo, however, simply dismissed De Lima's recent remark.
Robredo has yet to respond to Duterte's challenge, which De Lima described as a "paandar" (gimmick).
"Kasalanan ba ni VP Robredo kung saksakan ka ng yabang? Eh ang totoo pala ay wala ka naman palang lakas o kakayahan para tuparin ang iyong salita," De Lima told Duterte.
(Is it VP Robredo's fault that you're so full of yourself? The truth is you have no energy or capacity to follow through with your word.)