Vice President Leni Robredo serves as the “spare tire” in the presidential succession but made it appear she was “calling the shots” during the disaster relief efforts, Malacañang said Wednesday.
According to Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, Robredo’s behavior of allegedly misinforming the nation about the typhoon response was “out of order.”
“Her Twitter posts making it appear that she was the one calling the shots at the time of the typhoon was completely out of order…It was completely out of order that she misinformed the people the nation as if she was the one in charge of the relief effort. She was not,” he said over CNN Philippines Wednesday.
“The President said under the constitutional scheme, the Vice President is a spare tire. When Ulysses struck, he was in charge,” he added.
Roque said the President was apparently fed up with Robredo’s actions so he issued the “very strong words” against her.
In a public address Tuesday night, the President unleashed a sharp rebuke of Robredo for allegedly lying to the nation when she questioned his supposed absence during the onslaught of typhoon Ulysses last week. An irritated Duterte also expressed dismay at Robredo for allegedly grandstanding in the relief efforts even though government resources were already prepositioned days before the storm’s landfall.
Duterte apparently blamed Robredo over the #NasaanAngPangulo hashtag that became a trending social media topic during the fury of Ulysses last week. At the time, Duterte explained that he was attending the virtual Southeast Asian summit and that the Vice President knew about his engagement.
Robredo has already denied asking the President’s whereabouts when the disaster struck last week, saying he was probably misinformed. She also said giving relief aid to calamity victims was not a contest.
When Cagayan residents reportedly asked for help over the flooding in their province last Friday, the Vice President moved to coordinate with the military on the rescue operations and gave regular updates on her social media pages.
Asked if the President could have been misinformed about Robredo’s actions, Roque said: “I am not sure and I do not know.”
But he added that it was expected that Robredo would deny the matter following the President’s tirade.
“I think the President would not have been irritated as he was if he did not have personal knowledge that the Vice President was asking for his whereabouts, either privately or publicly,” he said.
Roque also claimed that records show that Robredo has welcomed opportunity “to take a snipe at the President at a time of pandemic and even at a time of typhoon.”
He recalled that the President gave Robredo a chance to work in the Cabinet but she opted to become the leader of the opposition. “She has to fulfill her constitutional duty which is basically become a spare tire,” he added.
He also said many of Robredo’s supporters were wishing her to take over the presidency “but for that to happen you would have to be absolutely evil and wish the President ill.”