President Rodrigo Duterte took a swipe at Vice President Leni Robredo who accused the administration of having no clear direction in COVID-19 response, saying she is adding “fuel to the fire.”
The President, in his public speech aired Tuesday morning, said Robredo would only just destroy the government if she would keep on criticizing the government’s handling of the health crisis.
“Please do not add fuel to the fire. You will just destroy government. Do not destroy the government because you will destroy people. If the government is destroyed, we will all float,” Duterte said in a mix of English and Filipino.
The 75-year-old Chief Executive added that destroying the government — or even his death — would not the solve the country’s problems.
“Even if you say that I will die tomorrow, it cannot solve the problem of the country,” he said.
His remarks came after Robredo, in a 20-minute speech on Monday, claimed that the apprehensions of businessmen to reopen their stores are rooted from their lack of confidence in the administration’s pandemic response.
Duterte hit back at Robredo, saying that the Vice President should not make baseless accusations at a time when “people are desperate.”
Robredo raised the issue of confidence amid the national health emergency as government officials faced allegations of corruption on overpriced protective suits and questionable cash advances to hospitals.
“Let me emphasize: Confidence keeps the economy rolling. And the truth is, even before the pandemic, our economy could not reach its full potential because of lack of confidence,” she said.
“This is why, especially now that we are grappling with a pandemic, the last thing that we need is even more instances that erode confidence,” Robredo added.
Robredo, a vocal critic of the administration, claimed that the passage of the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act is not enough to deal with problems brought by the coronavirus pandemic.
Duterte and Robredo belong to opposing political parties. She used to be part of the Cabinet as chairperson of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council until her resignation in December 2016.
The Vice President then cited “major differences” with Duterte, and revealed that she was directed to “desist from attending all Cabinet meetings.”