By Deighton Acuin


After receiving fresh tirades from President Rodrigo Duterte, Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday laughed off his claims that she may be unfit to lead the Philippines.

In a media briefing, Robredo said the matter of whether or not she is unpresidential is not for Duterte to decide since the voting public will have a say on her political fate.

“Kapag ganoon kasi, hindi naman siya iyong magdedesisyon kung qualified ako o hindi, pero iyong taumbayan iyong magdedesisyon. Hindi ko naman dedepensahan iyong sarili ko,” Robredo said.

Robredo expressed her hopes that Duterte could listen to suggestions even if those proposals would come from opposition party officials.

“Pero iyong sa akin lang, makakabuti sa ating lahat kapag nakikinig—kapag nakikinig sa mungkahi, nakikinig sa pagpansin ng ibang mga polisiya,” she said.

“Pinakita ng buong mundo, lalo ngayong panahon ng krisis, na iyong mga leaders na marunong magkonsulta, iyong mga leaders na marunong tumanggap ng mga pagkukulang, iyong mga leaders na marunong makinig, mas consultative, mas maayos iyong response.”

“Syempre, ako, nalulungkot ako na iyong response sa ating mga mungkahi ay pang-iinsulto, pero sa akin, hindi ko naman iyon kontrolado. Ang kontrolado ko lang iyong gagawin ko. Nakakalungkot, pero tayo, sige lang. Hindi tayo nagpapaapekto doon,” she added.

During his weekly Talk to the People, Duterte berated Robredo anew for criticizing his demand for the United States government to pay up if it wants to resume the activities under Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) inside the Philippines.

For Duterte, the Philippines is likely to become collateral damage in the unfortunate event that conflict erupts between the US and China, believing that the country could be a target because of the presence of American forces.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque even pointed out the US give bigger aid to Pakistan than its long-time Asian ally, the Philippines.

The Palace said the Philippines should have around $16 billion, like Pakistan which got such an amount as counterterrorism assistance from the US from 2001 to 2017. Roque said that in the same period, the Philippines only received a total of $3.9 billion from the US.

However, Senator Panfilo Lacson and Robredo deemed the Chief Executive’s remarks as “extortion,” adding it appears Duterte is asking for payment in exchange for VFA continuation.

Robredo’s opinion piqued Duterte, saying he would not forgive Robredo for her pronouncements because she is a lawyer. He also asserted that the foreign policies are part of the sole prerogative of a sitting Commander-in-Chief.

Duterte then warned Robredo would not make a good President and he is worried about the possibility of her winning the presidential race next year although the Vice President has yet to disclose her election plans.