The Palace on Wednesday shrugged off Vice President Leni Robredo’s criticism that the national government lacks a systemic pandemic response, saying it cannot expect the opposition leader to say “anything positive” about the administration.
In an interview with CNN Philippines, Roque said the Vice President is free to express her opinion.
“Of course, as the leader of the opposition, we don’t expect anything positive about this administration from her. We’ve accepted that. I think people have accepted that,” he said.
The issue stemmed from Robredo’s remarks on Tuesday that she is not calling for the resignation of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III since it will not change anything if the system, which she has called a failure, remains.
“Our problem is so much bigger than Secretary Duque. For me, the problem really is with the national government appearing to have no system in place,” she said.
Robredo also claimed that “no cohesive plan” was crafted more than six months since the government imposed quarantine restrictions.
The Palace official said that Robredo’s criticisms would not affect the public’s trust in President Duterte and his administration.
“She can say all the negative things about the administration but people still support the President,” Roque said.
President Duterte recently urged the public to ignore those who criticize the government’s handling of the health crisis.
Roque also said the country’s pandemic response deserves a “very good” grade of 85 percent despite the continuous surge of COVID-19 cases.
He took pride that the government had prevented forecasts that millions of Filipinos might have acquired COVID-19, as it kept the case fatality rate low.
“All in all, I think we deserve a very good grade, I would give it a grade of 85 percent,” Roque told reporters.
The Palace official added that the Philippines would be among countries that would record the highest testing numbers globally.
“We clearly have the best testing policy in the whole of Asia and probably in the whole world because we have exceeded three million tests and that exceeds what they said about testing 3 percent of the total population,” he said.
Roque, however, admitted that the government needs to boost its contact tracing and isolation efforts.