VP to Duterte, Panelo: Talk first to avoid ‘confusing’ remarks
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte and his spokesman, Salvador Panelo, should talk first to avoid releasing contradictory and confusing remarks, Vice President Leni Robredo said on Sunday.
Robredo said this after Panelo clarified the President’s statement that he would “ignore” the arbitral ruling on the West Philippine Sea so the Philippines could get into oil and gas exploration deal with China.
During the Vice President’s weekly radio show, “BISErbisyong LENI,” co-anchor Ely Saludar suggested that the President and his spokesman should first talk to teach other before releasing statements.
Robredo agreed, saying in Filipino: “They should say the same thing.”
Robredo also hit Panelo for his remark on the “inability of her political advisers to comprehend the complexities of our current situation with China” after she issued a statement on setting aside of the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration.
“I’m really confused because what he said was different from what the President said. The President said he would set aside the arbitral ruling. Then he [Panelo] said that was not what [the President] wanted to say. So he’s right: I’m really confused,” Robredo said.
“That’s what we’re pointing out, Ka Ely,” she went on. “If he says we’re really confused, we’re really confused. That’s why we are commenting. We can’t let it end in confusion b because of statements that won’t be good for everyone.”
The Vice President also shrugged off Panelo’s comment for her to “be more circumspect in issuing statements on the matter and rely more on her instinct as a lawyer and mother protective of those she is constitutionally tasked to shepherd.”
“That’s precisely what I’m relying on when I make a statement — because their statement is bothersome,” Robredo said.
The President’s remarks will have big repercussions not only for the present but also for future generations, she warned.
“Just think: We fought only to give up what was given to us — a declaration in our favor. Then we will give it up just for a deal with China?” she added.