A fuming President Duterte said Vice President Leni Robredo is being dishonest and engaging in grandstanding as the country grapples with the devastation caused by recent typhoons.
In a lengthy rebuke of Robredo during a televised address Tuesday night, the President said the Vice Present made a huge “blunder” when she lied to the people about his whereabouts at the height of Typhoon “Ulysses” last week. Duterte claimed Robredo knew he was attending a virtual regional summit when the calamity struck.
“I would like to just give a caution to the Vice President. She made a blunder, a big one, and she practically lied making her incapable of truth. Alam mo ‘yung pakana niya na wala ako sa bagyo (You said I was missing during the typhoon) – I was here, dito. I was attending a summit – ASEAN Summit ‘yon. So virtual lang palit-palit kami, we were talking sa electronic. Nandito ako noon (I was here),” he said.
“You knew that there was a summit going on and you had the gall to say, ‘Nasaan ang Presidente (Where is the President),” he said.
Duterte, visibly irked by the hashtag #NasaanAngPangulo that trended online last week, said he could not excuse Robredo for not knowing the ongoing regional summit last week. He explained that he actually delivered two speeches during the summit and later made aerial inspection of the typhoon-hit areas last week.
“It’s a sin for the vice president not to know what is happening in government… I was busy giving my statement of intervention, I delivered two speeches. She cannot pretend ignorance about that,” he added.
Duterte also vehemently denied that he was sleeping on the job, insisting that he was monitoring the calamity situation while attending the summit. He explained that he was a “night person” who starts his day at 2 p.m. and works until the early next morning.
He also cautioned Robredo against trying to “compete” with him, telling the vice president that it was not the time to engage in grandstanding. He said the concerned government personnel and resources were actually on standby to respond to the disaster.
“So huwag ka masyadong porma-porma, hindi mo talaga panahon. Hindi mo pa panahon. Not time to be making a grandstanding coming up with… Hindi ninyo alam na nagtatrabaho ako. Na-timingan lang it was a summit (I was working while there was a summit),” he said.
“You were presuming that I should be giving orders on the day of the storm. That is stupid,” he said. “Huwag ka masyadong paporma-porma. Hindi mo panahon,” he said.
Duterte also reminded Robredo that the military won’t follow her orders since she was not part of the chain of command.
“Do not compete with me. Do not start a quarrel. Wala ka talagang nagawa except mga tawag-tawag (You did nothing except make some phone calls),” he said.
“Lesson one for you, do not plan or give orders at the day of the battle… Magpapa-hero ka lang niyan (You’re just trying to be a hero),” he said.
Annoyed at criticisms about his supposed absence during the storm, Duterte also hit back at Robredo’s whereabouts whenever she supposedly comes home late.
“There was no need for you to make a – make a very masamang biro na, “where were you?” Kung sabihin ko tuloy sa iyo, what time did you go home? Ikaw noong gabi, anong oras ka umuwi? Isang bahay ka lang ba? Dalawang bahay ka? Tatanong lang ako kasi congressman ka. At kaninong bahay ka natagalan? Iyan ang sabihin ko sa iyo,” he said.
Robredo recently visited several places hit by the recent typhoon. When Cagayan was hit by massive floods Friday she tried to coordinate the military’s rescue efforts to assist the victims. She made no comment about the President’s whereabouts at the time.
Not ready for presidency
Apart from supposedly being “dishonest,” Duterte belittled anew Robredo’s competence, saying she could never rise to the presidency.
“You cannot become a president really. Mahina ka, eh. Wala ka nang ibigay order kasi ang order naibigay na two or three days. You do not give orders on the day of the war. Patay ka (You’re dead),” he said.
“So I hate to say this, but kung ganun ka huwag kang magtakbo ng presi… talagang mahina ka. You do not know and then you lied. You were not honest. Isa pa ‘yan.
Duterte told Robredo not to commit such mistake or else he would be forced to insult her. “You’re playing too much, nagpapa-beauty ka. It’s not the time for you. During the campaign, paalis na ako. Sige subukan mo,” he said.
And if Robredo plans to run for president, Duterte has vowed to campaign against her. “Matagal na akong maraming sabihin sa’yo, pero i-reserba ko na lang. When you start your campaign, kapag magtakbo ka ng presidente, waswasan kita nang husto. This is your nightmare,” he said.