Leni Robredo

Robredo camp hits back at DILG official for saying VP ‘non-essential’

Dwight de Leon
Robredo camp hits back at DILG official for saying VP ‘non-essential’

Vice President Leni Robredo's spokesperson Barry Gutierrez clapped back at an interior official on Thursday, April 1, for saying that Robredo is non-essential.

Vice President Robredo's camp says an interior official's 'jokes' against her cause further burden to the government's pandemic response

The Office of the Vice President did not mince words after a Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) official said Leni Robredo, the second highest official in the country, is non-essential.

In an interview with One News on March 31, Interior Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III said, “Hindi talaga essential si lugaw,” an apparent swipe at Robredo, whose critics associate with porridge since photos of her campaign team selling porridge went viral during the 2016 elections.

Densing clarified a day later in an interview with GMA News Online that he was indeed referring to Robredo, but he stood by his claim amid growing flak online.

On Thursday, Barry Gutierrez, Robredo’s spokesperson, clapped back at Densing for trying to “play politics.”

He expressed frustration over Densing’s propensity to make jokes when the Philippines is seeing an unprecedented rise in COVID-19 cases.

Active cases in the Philippines topped 130,000 as of Thursday, April 1, overwhelming hospitals, particularly in Metro Manila.

“This guy epitomizes the administration’s COVID-19 response. With cases rising, hospitals full, and millions struggling, instead of doing real work, he makes “jokes,” plays politics, & bashes someone who’s actually doing the job they’re supposed to,” Gutierrez said.

Hindi lang ito non-essential, ito ay pabigat (not only are his actions non-essential, but also a burden),” Gutierrez added.

Robredo, the leader of the opposition, has been critical of the government’s pandemic strategy, and has often publicized her suggestions on how to improve the country’s COVID-19 fight.

President Rodrigo Duterte and Malacañang, however, have resorted to criticizing Robredo over her inputs.

Densing’s “lugaw” statement came after a video of a barangay official barring a food delivery rider from delivering porridge to a customer in the subdivision went viral on Wednesday. – Rappler.com

Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers local government units and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.