Incompetent? ‘Look who’s talking,’ Robredo camp tells Duterte

Mara Cepeda

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Incompetent? ‘Look who’s talking,’ Robredo camp tells Duterte

Angie de Silva

(UPDATED) Vice President Leni Robredo's legal adviser, Barry Gutierrez, lists the country's woes under President Rodrigo Duterte, including rising inflation, a bigger debt burden, and the spate of killings

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo clapped back at President Rodrigo Duterte for calling her “incompetent” and unfit to lead the country.

“Incompetent? Nagsalita ang magaling (Look who’s talking),” Robredo’s legal adviser, former Akbayan representative Barry Gutierrez, said in a statement sent to reporters on Tuesday night, July 10.

Gutierrez turned the tables on Duterte and listed the country’s woes under his watch: rising inflation, a weaker peso, the P1.19 trillion the government plans to borrow from local and foreign creditors next year, and the worsening traffic problem.

He also took a jab against Duterte for the President’s refusal to assert the rights of Filipinos to fish in Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), and the continuing spate of killings in the country. (READ: Robredo asks Filipinos to unite vs killings, culture of violence)

“Inflation: 5.2%. Bigas: P42/kilo. $1 = P53.51. Dagdag sa pambansang utang: P1.19 trillion. Sariling karagatan: Bawal sa Pinoy. Trapik: Palala pa. Patayan, tila araw-araw na lang,” Gutierrez said.

(Inflation: 5.2%. Price of rice: P42/kilo. $1 = P53.51. Additional debt of the country: P1.19 trillion. Our own sea: Off-limits to Filipinos. Traffic: Worsening. Killings seem to happen every day.)

‘Empowering, compassionate leadership’

Senator Francis Pangilinan, Liberal Party president, also came to the defense of the LP chairperson.

Pangilinan said in a statement on Wednesday, July 11, that far from being “incompetent,” Robredo has shown her competence as a leader through her achievements as Vice President.

He noted that for the last two years, Robredo has helped poor and displaced families even if she had no Cabinet position.

“Two years since she’s been elected, Vice President Leni Robredo has focused her attention on helping the poor help themselves. Without a Cabinet position, she has marshaled partners from the private sector to extend P252 million worth of aid for 155,000 families through her Angat Buhay program,” Pangilinan said.

“Vice President Leni has shown her competence through compassionate, empowering, and responsible leadership,” he added.

Pangilinan said Duterte’s tirade against Robredo is “unfortunate, given that they are untrue, and more so because they digress from the core issues that hound Filipinos every day.” He also cited the issues that Gutierrez had raised against the President.

Duterte had disparaged Robredo’s capability to become president mere hours after she said she would lead and unite the opposition.

“I don’t think she will be ready to govern a country. Reason? Incompetence. She is not capable of running a country like the Philippines,” Duterte told reporters in Clark, Pampanga, on Tuesday.

He said he would not resign just so she would become president. If he ever does, it would be “for the people, so they can choose who they want.”

Robredo, however, has so far not expressed any intention to run for president in 2022. 

She has also repeatedly said that she is not plotting to remove Duterte from office, contrary to what his supporters and propagandists suspected when she criticized the President’s policies in the past.

The Vice President is also currently facing an electoral protest filed by former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, a known ally of Duterte. –

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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.