Palace: ‘Spare tire’ Robredo made it appear she was in charge
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Wednesday said that Vice President Leni Robredo became the most recent target of President Rodrigo Duterte’s tirades because she made it appear that she was in charge of typhoon response efforts.
A visibly irritated Duterte started his weekly talk to the nation by falsely calling Robredo “dishonest” for supposedly claiming he was absent during Typhoon Ulysses’ onslaught.
Robredo never issued any remark asking for Duterte’s whereabouts when Ulysses wreaked havoc and caused massive flooding over parts of the country, only of real-time updates via her Twitter account when several netizens asked for help following massive flooding in Cagayan and Isabela due to Typhoon Ulysses.
But presidential spokesperson Harry Roque made an issue out of Robredo’s “postings.”
“He must have his reasons but I, myself, I do know that the President also noted the fact that in many of her postings, the Vice President made it appear that she was the one who called out the marines to give necessary aid to the victims of the Cagayan floodings,” he said in an interview over CNN Philippines.
“But actually, the chain of command is the President [is] on top of the armed forces and taking orders from him and no one else. That’s the context of what the President must have said. And it was not just one post that the Vice President was making it appear that she was in charge,” he added.
Roque admitted that he was “not sure” if Robredo actually asked for Duterte’s whereabouts after the hashtag #NasaanAngPangulo became a trending topic. However, he insisted that the President has his “basis” for making such remarks.
When several netizens sought for help via social media after massive flooding in Cagayan, Robredo posted updates on Twitter about her office’s coordination regarding rescue efforts with authorities.
But Roque viewed this as a chance for Robredo to disparage or put the president in bad light.
“Now is not the time for politics and I think the records will bear me out that every opportunity, the Vice President welcomes [the] opportunity to take a snide at the President. At a time of pandemic and even at a time of typhoon,” Roque said.
“And of course, her Twitter posts making it appear that she was the one calling the shots at the time of the typhoon was completely out of order…. And the President said, under the Constitutional scheme, the Vice President is a spare tire and when Ulysses struck, he (Duterte) was in charge,” he added.
Robredo has since responded to Duterte, denying that she asked where he was when Ulysses hit the country. She also noted that helping Filipinos during a calamity should not be a contest.