Robredo to Duterte: Stop ranting, focus on helping suffering Filipinos

Mara Cepeda
Instead of glorifying a dictator and attacking me, why not fix our country's problems, says the Vice President

UNDER ATTACK. File photo shows Vice President Leni Robred attending the launch of 'Jesse Robredo: His Story.' Photo from OVP

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo fired back at President Rodrigo Duterte and told him to focus on fixing the nation’s most pressing problems instead of attacking her.

On Friday, August 31, Robredo said Duterte should focus addressing the rice crisis, the soaring prices of goods, and the alleged P6.8-billion shabu (methamphetamine) that slipped past the country’s top anti-drug authorities instead of belittling her capability to lead the country.

“Instead of continuing to glorify a dictator who stole billions from our country, drove the nation into debt, and presided over the murder and imprisonment of thousands of Filipinos, he can work on truly unifying the nation, and assuring our people, especially those at the fringes, that their voices are being heard and that their daily suffering will soon be eased,” said the Vice President.

This was Robredo’s reply after the President said on Thursday, August 30 that he would rather relinquish the presidency to a dictator than let the Vice President succeed him.

Duterte has said he preferred either Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr,  son of the late ousted strongman Ferdinand Marcos, or Senator Francis Escudero to succeed him if he resigns. Bongbong Marcos, a close ally and friend of Duterte, has filed an electoral protest against the Vice President.

“The allegations made by the President are recycled rants conveniently used to deflect attention from the failures of this administration,” said Robredo.

“And while he may be intending to flatter me by keeping me at the top of his mind these days when he stands behind the seal of his office, I’d still prefer that he focus on the many important matters that he needs to address—as rising prices continue to make life difficult for our fellow Filipinos, especially for those in need,” added the Vice President.

Rants vs Robredo a distraction tactic

Meanwhile, Sen. Kiko Pangilinan, president of Liberal Party, said attacking the vice president “is another attempt to divert the public’s attention from the tons of missing smuggled shabu and missing NFA rice from the market.”

Robredo is a member of the Liberal Party.

“Instead of talking about who should replace the President, the administration should focus on addressing these pressing issues that concern our countrymen,” said Pangilinan.

In the same speech, Duterte also claimed that a “brother-in-law” of Robredo brought illegal drugs to Bicol. He reiterated his previous allegation that Naga City is a shabu “hotbed” – a label that the Naga City Council condemned in a resolution.

Robredo called Duterte’s allegations as “ridiculous.”

“Despite these many problems, the drug war clearly remains highest on the President’s agenda, so much so that he is now pinning blame on a blind man,” said the Vice President.

“Perhaps instead of constantly repeating this ridiculous allegation, and throwing mud on the name of a city that thrives on good governance—and that staunchly supports the call to fight illegal drugs—he can turn his attention to the P6.8-billion shabu shipment that slipped past his customs officials, and not just shrug off the insistent report of his own PDEA chief regarding the magnetic lifters found in Cavite,” she added.

The alleged illegal shabu shipment is the subject of an ongoing House probe. The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency continues to insist the 4 empty magnetic lifters  seized at a warehouse in Cavite were used to contain drugs. 

 Duterte, however, tagged PDEA’s claim as “pure speculation.”



Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at or tweet @maracepeda.