Leni Robredo camp spars with Panelo: VP thrives in ‘heat in kitchen’
MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo thrives in “heat in the kitchen” that comes with her role as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs, her spokesperson said on Friday, Nov. 22.
Barry Gutierrez, the Vice President’s spokesperson, sparred with presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo who said that Robredo would be better off leaving the kitchen if she could not stand the heat, meaning she could quit her job as ICAD co-chair.
“The good secretary is confused,” said Gutierrez of Panelo. “VP Leni does not mind the heat at all,” he said.
“She expected it. She thrives in it,” Gutierrez said.
In a statement, Gutierrez also said Robredo would continue discharging her duty as ICAD co-chair because of the Vice President’s hope of saving innocent lives, a key factor in her decision to accept the job.
“He can rely on one thing — she will continue to do her job,” Gutierrez said, addressing himself to Panelo.
“There are those who are trying their utmost to make her job harder,” he said. “She certainly won’t abandon her responsibilities to the Filipino people just for them,” he added.
“VP Leni has always been ready for the heat. But it seems clear now that there are those who were not ready for her,” he said, repeating a retort made by Robredo to her detractors after accepting the anti-drug job.
At a late-night press conference on Tuesday, Nov. 21, President Rodrigo Duterte said he did not trust Robredo especially after the Vice President met with different organizations, including those which had been the subjects of Duterte’s rants.
Robredo claimed that ‘fake news’ may have reached Duterte, as she met only with representativfes of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the United States Embassy. UNODC and the embassy had been in touch with the Philippine government prior to Robredo’s appointment to the ICAD.
Others, including Sen. Panfilo Lacson, whom Robredo is consulting about the campaign against drugs, said that Duterte saying he did not trust Robredo could be his way of saying he wanted the Vice President out.
But Robredo said if Duterte wanted her out, all he had to do was say it to her face.
Edited by TSB
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