July 22, 2018, 9:23 pm
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Leni backers lash out at Rody

BACKERS of Vice President Leni Robredo yesterday took up the cudgels and lashed back at President Duterte for calling her “incompetent” and unfit to lead the country.

“Incompetent? Look who’s talking,” Robredo’s legal adviser, Barry Gutierrez, said, adding that under Duterte’s watch, inflation rose, the peso weakened, traffic worsened and killings remain unabated.

Sen. Francis Pangilinan, president of the Liberal Party that Robredo chairs, also came to her defense, saying she has already proven her competence even before she joined the government.

Pangilinan said two years since Robredo was elected, she has focused her attention on empowering the poor.

“Without a Cabinet position, she has marshaled partners from the private sector to extend P252 million worth of aid for 155,000 families through her Angat Buhay program,” Pangilinan said. “Vice President Leni has shown her competence through compassionate, empowering, and responsible leadership.”

Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV said Robredo has shown her concern with the poor and oppressed even before she entered public service.

“For me, a true criteria of a good leader is finding solution to the country’s problems,” Aquino said. “The poor communities that VP Leni have helped are proofs of her competence.”

Duterte disparaged Robredo’s capability to lead the country last Tuesday, hours after she accepted the challenge to lead the opposition against Duterte.

“I don’t think she will be ready to govern a country. Reason? Incompetence. She is not capable of running a country like the Philippines,” Duterte told reporters in Clark, Pampanga.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said everyone should respect the views and opinions of Duterte, including his pronouncement that Robredo is not fit and capable of running a country.

Roque, in a radio interview, said the President is entitled to his opinion and he has his own basis or standards in determining if a person to him is competent or not.

Duterte last Tuesday night said he has no intention of resigning to allow Robredo to succeed him as the country tries to shift to the federal form of government.

Robredo has so far not expressed any intention to run for president in 2022. She is currently facing an electoral protest filed by former Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., a known ally of Duterte.

Gutierrez, a former Akbayan representative, listed the country’s woes under Duterte: Inflation: 5.2%. Price of rice: P42/kilo. $1 = P53.51. Additional debt of the country: P1.19 trillion. Our own sea: Off-limits to Filipinos. Traffic: Worsening. Killings seem to happen every day.

“The President’s remarks are unfortunate, given that they are untrue, and more so because they digress from the core issues that hound Filipinos every day,” Pangilinan said.

He stressed that rice prices increased by P5 a kilo when the President promised to bring it down to P15. Prices of goods and services have risen by 5.2 percent, the highest in nine years. 

Out on the streets, Pangilinan said the people “are subject to kotong, threatened with arrest or harm, while the Chinese poachers who mistreat our fishermen are treated with kid gloves.”

LP vice president for external affairs Erin Tañada said the attacks on the Vice President “are based on Bongbong Marcos’s plan to subvert the people’s will and revise history in their family’s favor. To this, we say: Marcos was a dictator. He tortured. He killed. He plundered. And we will never forget.”

Sen. Panfilo Lacson said it was difficult to measure the performance of the Vice President since she was removed from the Cabinet.

“In short, she was relegated to a mere spare tire, waiting for the President to die or be incapacitated, which is unfortunate considering that she was elected along with the President, so regardless of party affiliations, they should be working together for our country’s sake,” Lacson said.

“I think she should have defined her role much earlier or right after she was taken out of her appointive position, which is to be the acknowledged and undisputed leader of the opposition,” he added. – With JP Lopez and Jocelyn Montemayor 
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