By Deighton Acuin and Archie Villaflores

PHOTO: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said Saturday he was not picking a fight with Vice President Leni Robredo to ruin her day.

In his daily “Counterpoint” program, Panelo explained he was just responding to Robredo’s remarks on the President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration after allegedly complained of his attacks against her.

After his stint as the President’s spokesman last year, Panelo started hosting a daily commentary program where he not only highlights government programs, but also responds to people criticizing the administration. The one-hour program, where Panelo, in his bespoke suit sits behind a desk, is shown on state television, as well as the government’s official Facebook pages.

“Nagrereklamo na nga sa atin si VP Leni bakit naman daw pinupulaan ko pa siya o binabanatan. Hindi naman kita binabanatan,” Panelo said.

“Sinasagot ko lang mga birada mo. kasi kung mali naman, siyempre kailangan ipaalam natin sa iyo,” Panelo added.

The Palace official also mentioned the online petition urging the retirement of Robredo from public office was gaining ground.

He said while Robredo’s supporters have already launched a petition pushing for her presidential bid next year, a counter petition on “We don’t like Leni as President” has also been filed online. More than 67,000 have signed the petition titled “I am ready for Leni to retire from politics.”

Moreover, the petition reportedly reached its target, on the way to 75,000 signatories.

On the other hand, the Pro-Robredo “I am ready for Leni” movement garnered more than 41,000 signatories as of this time.

Panelo, in his past commentaries, took a swipe at Robredo for her alleged baseless criticisms against the government’s pandemic response. He also previously advised the vice president to perform her job without seeking publicity.

Both Panelo and Robredo are living in Naga City, Camarines Sur.

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