MALACAÑANG yesterday dismissed as “wishful thinking” and an intrusion to the country’s sovereignty the remarks of a London-based think tank that the country stands to attract more foreign investors if Vice President Leni Robredo takes over the presidency from President Duterte.
“Unang-una, iyun ay wishful thinking. Pinapakialaman na naman nila iyung soberentiya (That’s wishful thinking. They are again interfering in our sovereignty),” Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and concurrent presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a radio interview.
Panelo said the statement of think tank Capital Economics totally disregards the overwhelming support that Duterte got from the people who voted for him.
He likewise accused the foreign group of trying to meddle with the government’s policy and country’s internal affairs.
Capital Economics, in its “Duterte health worries, Sri Lanka election” report on Friday, said that a change in president will probably be “welcomed by investors,” citing that there had been downtrends in foreign investments in the Philippines since Duterte became president in 2016.
Capital Economics senior Asia economist Gareth Leather said Robredo’s “fierce opposition to Duterte’s authoritarian tendencies, including his willingness to undermine political institutions, his attacks on political opponents, as well as the controversial war on drugs” may also entice foreign firms to invest in the Philippines.
Panelo cautioned Robredo about similar remarks from other foreign entities and said that if she believes them, she might end up harming herself and the country as a whole.
Panelo denied the claim of the think tank, saying that the Philippines have “good” foreign investments.
Under Section 8 of the 1987 Constitution, the vice president may take over as president in case of “death, permanent disability, removal from office, or resignation of the president.”
Panelo said that while Duterte may not be in the “pink of health but in the green of health,” he is still healthy enough to continue his work which is what he is already doing.
He said Duterte’s ailments are not different from the ailments suffered by people his age.
“Kung ano iyung sakit ng matatanda na kaedad niya, ordinarily, he has that. But if you will notice na kahit ganyan siya, may nararamdaman, iyung kanyang schedule ganoon pa rin, hindi nababago (Whatever the ailments of the elders his age, ordinarily, he is afflicted with those. But if you will notice that despite that, despite what he is feeling, his schedule remains the same, they have not changed),” he said.
Panelo said the President, who had been working from his home in Davao City since last week to enable him to get more rest, is expected to resume his usual schedules this week including a visit to South Korea from November 24 to 27 to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nation-South Korean Commemorative Summit in Busan.