President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night called out Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo and critics of his administration’s Covid-19 response.

“Huwag kayong maniwala diyan — sus mga itong dilawan lalo na — I hate to mention her name, but ito si Leni, kung ano-anong pinagsasabi. Alam mo Leni, kung gusto mo — if you really want to do away with the Covid, spray-han natin itong Pilipinas o Manila ng pesticide galing sa eroplano para patay lahat,” he said in his weekly public address.

Robredo had given suggestions on and criticisms of the government’s strategy against the Covid-19 pandemic.

In an interview over the “Quarantined with Howie Severino” program, Robredo said the country started to catch up with its months-old goals only recently as the government’s response had not been proactive during the start of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Duterte said critics from the opposition were “deluding” Filipinos with their comments.

“Huwag na ninyong palakihin ang problema. Do not add something to the pandemic by making such reckless statements that we are not doing enough… and do not delude the people na bobolahin ninyo about not doing enough,” he said.

“We are just doing enough. So you want us to do away with the [face mask and shield-wearing policies]? Mahirap ‘yan. Sumunod lang muna kayo tutal malapit na. ‘Pag nandiyan na ‘yung vaccine, mag-utang ako. Utangin ko kung wala tayong pera, and as I said, we follow the program laid down by the IATF na ‘yung mga tao na mauna,” he added.

Duterte recently extended the country’s Covid-19 state of calamity until Sept. 12, 2021.

He has repeatedly insisted that only when a vaccine was developed would the Covid-19 crisis be over.

“Sabi ko nga sa inyo noon eh Covid vaccine. You might be hearing of critics and ‘yung walang magawa, that we are not doing enough. Ano mang enough na gusto ninyo? May ospital, may kama, at may punerarya. Nandiyan lahat. Ano pa man ang gusto ninyo?” he said during his latest address.

Leni hits back

Robredo said responding to the pandemic did not mean only having enough facilities for Covid-19 patients.

“‘Di ko matiis magkaroon ng takeaways. Hindi yata sapat na basta may ospital, kama at punerarya, ang kailangan nalang gawin ay maghintay ng vaccine,” she wrote in a Facebook post after Duterte’s address was aired.

The vice president listed “main challenges” the government needs to address:

  1. Suppressing the pandemic by means of medical and non-medical interventions;
  2. Overcoming humanitarian emergencies including poverty, hunger, unemployment, mental distress, etc., caused by the pandemic;
  3. Restructuring public and private finances in the wake of the pandemic;
  4. Rebuilding the economy in an inclusive, resilient, and sustainable way.

“‘Yung number 1 po, hindi ma sosolusyunan sa pag spray ng pesticide sa Manila galing sa eroplano,” she said. John Ezekiel J. Hirro