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Robredo, allies respond to Duterte’s ‘incompetent’ remark

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PHILSTAR

VICE-PRESIDENT Maria Leonor G. Robredo on Wednesday responded to President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s remarks Tuesday that “she’s incompetent.”

Ayoko na sana i-dignify pero siguro sabihin ko na lang na imbes na insultuhin ako o ang Diyos, asikasuhin na lang muna ang mga problema ng ating ekonomiya,” Ms. Robredo said. (I didn’t want to dignify [that remark] but maybe I’ll just say, instead of insulting me or God, just attend to the problems of our economy.)

Mr. Duterte was asked by reporters Tuesday on his proposed election for a transition president by next year, rather than the constitutional route of the vice-president succeeding him when he steps down.

“I will not resign because it will make her president,” Mr. Duterte said. “Robredo is not capable of running the country. She’s incompetent.”

Ms. Robredo’s political allies also rallied behind her, with Senator Francis N. Pangilinan, president of the opposition Liberal Party of which Ms. Robredo is chairperson, praising the Vice-President as a “compassionate, empowering, and responsible” leader who has managed to help the poor even without a Cabinet position.

“Without a Cabinet position, she has marshalled partners from the private sector to extend P252-million worth of aid for 155,000 families through her Angat Buhay program,” the senator said, adding:

“Rice prices increased by 5 pesos a kilo when the President promised to bring it down to 15 pesos. The prices of goods and services have risen by 5.2%, the highest in nine years. And out on the streets, our citizens are subject to kotong, threatened with arrest or harm, while the Chinese poachers who mistreat our fishermen are treated with kid gloves.”

“The President’s remarks are unfortunate, given that they are untrue, and more so because they digress from the core issues that hound Filipinos every day,” Mr. Pangilinan also said.

LP Senator Paolo Benigno A. Aquino IV, said for his part: “Sa akin po ang tunay na pamantayan ng kakayanan ng isang lider ay paghanap ng solusyon sa mga problema ng taumbayan (For me, the true measure of a leader’s competence is the ability to find a solution to the problems of the people).”

Ms. Robredo’s legal adviser, Ibarra M. Gutierrez III, said for his part: “Inflation: 5.2%. Bigas (rice): P42/kilo. $1 = P?53.51. Dagdag sa pambansang utang (increase in national debt): P1.19 (Trillion). Sariling karagatan: bawal sa Pinoy (Philippine waters: prohibited to Filipinos). Trapik: palala pa (Traffic: getting worse). Patayan, tila araw araw na lang (killings, just happens everyday). Incompetent? Nagsalita ang magaling (The great one speaks).”

Meanwhile, Ms. Robredo’s camp has asked the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) to release CCTV footage which would allegedly prove the camp of Ferdinand R. Marcos was aware of the swimming trip attended by his revisors and several PET personnel and a revisor of Ms. Robredo on June 22 in Laguna.

Ms. Robredo, through her chief legal counsel Romulo B. Macalintal, questioned in a 6-page manifestation submitted on Wednesday why Mr. Marcos “is asking for an investigation despite being fully aware that the Honorable Tribunal already conducted one.”

“Protestant Marcos and his revisors were well aware of the said outing as they were invited as well,” Ms. Robredo’s manifestation went, adding that “an investigation has already been conducted where some of the personalities involved were already meted with penalties.”

“A closed circuit television footage (CCTV) will confirm Mr. Miranda leaving the bag of snacks in the fourth floor of the (Supreme Court) building,” Mr. Macalintal said in the manifestation.

“[P]rotestant Marcos feigns ignorance when by the actions of his own revisor, they were not only fully aware but acquiesced to the said outing by giving snacks,” he added.

Mr. Marcos’s spokesperson, lawyer Victor Rodriguez, responded to the petition by challenging Ms. Robredo’s camp in a statement “to go ahead and produce such footage provided it is authentic.”

Ms. Robredo also petitioned the PET on Wednesday to give the Commission on Election (Comelec) five days instead of 10 to comment on her motion to uphold a 25% voting threshold in the recount.

According to Mr. Macalintal’s motion, the Office of the Solicitor-General “has had a total for 46 days to prepare and file its comment” prior to their request, which Ms. Robredo criticized last month as the Solicitor-General had already sought a third extension. — Charmaine A. Tadalan and Dane Angelo M. Enerio