Robredo: I have a right to criticize the government
Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday stressed that her status as a Filipino citizen gives her the right to criticize the actions of the government regardless of her status as the vice president of the Philippines.
In an interview on Quarantined with Howie Severino, Severino brought up an editorial in the Manila Times questioning why Robredo was expressing her opinions on policy-making when the vice president supposedly had no role to play in policy-making as per the constitution.
“Kahit hindi ako VP, kahit ordinaryong mamamayan lang ako may karapatan akong ipahayag ‘yung aking mga mungkahi. May karapatan akong mag-criticize if I need to criticize, kasi ‘yun ‘yung demands ng pagiging Filipino ko. And demands sa akin as a Filipino ay maging bahagi, maging bahagi ako sa nation building,” Robredo said.
Robredo has previously accused the Duterte administration of having no clear direction as the country battled the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, a sentiment she repeated during the interview.
“Kasi parang napaka-frustrating tingnan. Napaka-frustrating tingnan na ‘yun nga hindi mo alam kung ano ‘yung direksyon. ‘Yung sasabihin ng isa, sasalungatin ng isa. ‘Yung direksyon ng ahensya hindi sabay-sabay,” the vice president said.
"And I think nakikita ito during the press conferences. Ako I have been religiously watching the Monday press conferences. Dapat sana 'yung press conferences for me dapat reassuring, dapat 'di ba? Alam mo ‘yun,” she added.
The vice president said she also watched the press conferences of other world leaders who were clearer in providing direction in the fight against the virus such as New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Taiwan President Tsai Ing-Wen.
"Parang ‘pag humaharap sa publiko parang 'yung plano nakalatag. Parang ako kung makikinig ako alam ko kung ano ang ie-expect ko ngayong linggo, ano ‘yung mangyayari, ano ‘yung targets, ano ‘yung nangyari du'n sa targets last week. Pero frustrating panoorin na parang alam mo ‘yun parang walang sense of urgency. And I think detrimental ito lalo sa mahihirap,” she said.
According to Robredo, she only made her recommendations on COVID-19 public in July and August because she “wanted to give [the] administration a chance.”
"Pero ‘yung sa akin lang tayo 'yung pinakamahabang lockdown. Marami na akong nakikitang kakulangan. Parang it would ba a disservice to the people kung hindi ako magboboses ng kakulangan,” she said.
In July, the vice president published the suggestions she sent to presidential spokesman Harry Roque on how to improve the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“’Yung sa akin I know that I will be criticized for it. I know na ito-troll na naman ako pero I think may bigger responsibility at stake and maraming tao ang hindi nabibigyan ng pagkakataon,” she added.
Robredo said she will use her platform as the vice president to share the voices of others who share the same beliefs.
"It might not be the same for all pero may mga taong pareho ng aking paniniwala. So sa akin obligasyon ‘yun and hindi puwedeng sabihin na dahil hindi ako presidente, hindi ako puwedeng magsalita. Kasi kahit as I have said kahit walang katungkulan puwedeng magsalita,” she said. — Joahna Lei Casilao/BM, GMA News