After President Duterte’s tirade against her, Vice President Leni Robredo on Wednesday said that government officials should not be onion-skinned when the public criticizes them.

061119 LENI ACCEPTS 06 BALMORES - VP Robredo: Public servants should not be onion-skinned when criticized
Vice President Leni Robredo
(Mark Balmores / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

During her visit to typhoon victims in Ragay, Camarines Sur, Robredo said she doesn’t know who started the #NasaanAngPangulo hashtag on Twitter during the height of Typhoons Rolly and Ulysses.

Robredo said the hashtag was nothing new as it was used before during the time of former President Benigno Aquino III.

“For me, we shouldn’t be onion-skinned to things like that,” she said. 

“It should not sow division among us, especially in times when we should be helping each other. Whoever started that [hashtag], the attitude should be to prove that it is not true,” the vice president added.

On Tuesday night,  Duterte, in his weekly address to the nation, lambasted Robredo for asking his whereabouts during the height of the typhoons, as well as the flooding in Cagayan Valley, Isabela, and Catanduanes.

The President even went so far as to question what time Robredo goes home at night and to whose house she goes home to. He belittled the vice president’s relief efforts in the typhoon-stricken areas, saying that she merely made calls.

Robredo did not take offense to Duterte saying that she didn’t do anything.

“It is your right to think and say that I am not doing anything [to help the typhoon victims]. I will not defend myself because the people know the truth. But to say that I was responsible for #NasaanAngPangulo? That’s not true,” she said in a media interview.

Robredo had earlier tagged Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo for spreading lies regarding her office’s relief efforts.

She called out the people close to the President who misinformed him about the hashtag trend on social media. “[The fake news] might be coming from the people around him (Duterte). There are so many fake news here. They shouldn’t add to it.”

This was not the first time Robredo was a victim of fake news. During the early months of the Duterte administration, she was asked to stop attending Cabinet meetings. She quit her post as a member of the Cabinet thereafter.

During that time, Robredo said that Duterte was fed false information about her participation in a rally.

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