Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday stressed that she is not seeking a position in the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases, the body leading the country’s coronavirus response.
On her weekly radio show, Robredo underscored her spokesperson Barry Gutierrez’s earlier statement that she does not need a position to help the public.
The statement came after former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV dared Malacañang to appoint Robredo as IATF chief, prompting presidential spokesman Harry Roque to say that the vice president does not need a post to help “if her intentions are genuine.”
“Nakakatawa iyong lumabas iyan,” Robredo said. “Unang-una, hindi ko naman kailangan ng posisyon. Hindi ko kailangan iyong posisyon para tumulong.”
Roque had earlier took a swipe at Robredo, saying that she should "offer solutions" to problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic instead of criticizing the government's response.
This prompted netizens to list Robredo and her office's contributions to help Filipinos amid the pandemic, including providing thousands of hot meals and personal protective equipment to health workers, setting up dorms for health workers, and sending home hundreds of locally displaced persons.
On the Sunday radio show, the vice president recalled that she did not back down from the challenge when she was appointed housing czar and anti-illegal drugs committee co-chairperson, both posts that she was later booted from.
“Huwag po kayong matakot kasi hindi ako nag-a-apply. Nakakatawa lang kasi nahahalata kung sino iyong natatakot, e,” she said.
Meanwhile, Robredo said she agreed with Ombudsman Samuel Martires and former special adviser Dr. Tony Leachon’s criticisms of the lapses in the government’s coronavirus response.
The Ombudsman earlier launched a probe into the Department of Health (DOH) over its pandemic response, while Leachon was asked to resign as special adviser to the National Task Force Against COVID-19 over tweets critical of the DOH.
“Naiintindihan ko rin iyong posisyon ni Justice Martires na sa panahon ng pandemya, pinaka-mahalaga iyong ma-communicate sa tao na puwede siyang magtiwala sa pamahalaan,” Robredo said.
“Ito din iyong sinabi ni Dr. Leachon… na sa panahon ng krisis ang number one na pinaka-kailangan iyong klarong communication. Kasi mahalaga na nagko-cooperate iyong tao at iyong tao magko-cooperate lamang kung may tiwala siya,” she added. — Julia Mari Ornedo/BM, GMA News