MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Wednesday shrugged off Vice President Leni Robredo’s fresh criticisms against the government’s pandemic response, saying she cannot be expected to say anything positive about the administration as the “leader of the opposition”.
On Tuesday, Robredo, who has accused the Duterte administration of being complacent on the coronavirus health crisis, told GMA News that the government does not seem to have a “cohesive plan” to address the pandemic.
She also claimed that the failure lies in the system and that removing Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, who has been tied to the alleged anomalies in the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth), would not solve the problem.
Duque, the chairman of PhilHealth, has denied involvement in the anomalies that allegedly cost the health insurer billions in funds.
‘People still support the president’
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Robredo’s criticism of the administration is expected.
“She (Robredo) is entitled to her opinion. Of course, as the leader of the opposition, we don’t expect anything positive about this administration from her,” Roque told CNN Philippines on Wednesday.
Although Robredo is chairperson of the minority Liberal Party, it is not the only party or political organization that has been critical of the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have accepted that, I think people have accepted that. She can say all the negative things about the administration, but people still support the president,” Roque added.
Roque also brushed aside Robredo’s comment that conducting coronavirus tests on 30,000 people daily is no longer enough.
“Of course, nothing will ever be enough for someone who does not see the good things in government. But for now, we have the highest testing in Southeast Asia, even higher than that of Korea and Japan,” the Palace spokesman told state-run People’s Television.
“We will continue this because we should have the highest testing in the world. If we can, why not? But what is more important is aside from testing, we should fast-track the construction of isolation facilities, all those who tested positive should be placed in isolation facilities,” he added.
Roque also cited the need to continue the intensified contact tracing efforts by identifying 37 close contacts per infected person.