By Raymund Antonio
The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo on Wednesday downplayed suggestions she does not have the leadership ability to become the country’s next leader.
Vice presidential spokesperson Barry Gutierrez responded to President Rodrigo Duterte’s latest tirade against Robredo on her incompetence in case he leaves the presidency.
“Kanya na ‘yung endorsement niya, sumunod na lang tayo sa Konstitusyon,” Gutierrez, also Robredo’s legal adviser, said in a statement sent to reporters.
(He can have his endorsement, let’s just follow the Constitution.)
Gutierrez turned the tables on the President after he claimed Robredo can’t “improve on anything” if ever she succeeds him when he step downs from office.
“I am hesitant to suggest a constitutional succession. I have nothing against Robredo. She’s a lawyer, you have heard her talk, but I do not think she can improve on anything here,” he said on Tuesday during the Pilipinas Angat Lahat Alliance launch in Malacañang.
Duterte once again belittled Robredo’s capability to run the nation in the context of a military takeover or junta to replace him.
In another event, he said, “I think deep in my heart, if you follow the succession and Robredo takes over, hindi niya kaya (she’s not capable). Mas lalo magulo (It will be more chaotic).”
The Chief Executive then mentioned Senator Francis Escudero and ex-senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. as potential leaders instead of Robredo.
Duterte rejected Robredo as his successor even if under the 1987 Constitution, it states that the vice president takes over the presidency once the post becomes vacant.
Gutierrez, a former Akabayan representative, brushed aside Duterte’s “endorsement,” as he cited the “competent” officials whom he appointed in government.
“Mga ‘competent’ ayon sa Pangulo: Tourism Sec na walang ginawa kundi mangurakot, NDRRMC head na nawawala kapag baha, NFA chief na naubusan ng bigas,” he said.
(The ‘competent’ people, according to the President: a tourism secretary who is corrupt, a missing NDRRMC head during floods, an NFA chief who ran out of rice.)
The former lawmaker was referring to former Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo, NFA chief Jason Aquino, and Office of Civil Defense chief Nicanor Faeldon.
Teo resigned amid the P60-million controversy in the Department of Tourism ad placements on the show of her brothers, Ben and Erwin Tulfo, on government-owned People’s Television Network Inc.
On the other hand, the food agency’s rice stocks had depleted under the watch of Aquino while Faeldon went on vacation with his family in Oriental Mindoro as southwest monsoon caused massive floods in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
The OCD is the implementing arm of the National Risk Reduction and Management Council.