Malacañang on Thursday hit back at Vice President Leni Robredo after she advised President Rodrigo Duterte to focus on economic issues rather than insult her leadership quality.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque painted a rosy picture of the Philippine economy, describing it as the "second fastest growing" in the world.
He added that optimism in the economy and manufacturing output had reached "all-time" highs.
Roque downplayed the inflation rate after consumer prices hit the highest level in five years in June at 5.2 percent which some sectors attribute to the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.
"Otherwise all economists in the world will agree that we are a darling economy," he said at a news conference. "Madame Vice President, wala pong problema ang ekonomiya."
Robredo made the statement after Duterte on Tuesday called Robredo incompetent and said that she would never be prepared to replace him as president. This came after Robredo said she was willing to take on the role of leading the opposition to Duterte's rule.
According to Roque, the Vice President may have been hurt by Duterte's "honest and objective" assessment of her capability to run the country.
Roque said Duterte's comment should not be taken as an insult on Robredo.
"It’s the assessment of a person who served government for about 40 years. Maybe we should look into the merits of what he said, especially since, alam naman nating lahat na [ang] experience ni Vice President is three years as a congresswoman, and two years as a vice president," the Palace official said.
Robredo, who entered politics only in 2013, is the chairperson of the former ruling Liberal Party.
The widow of the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, the Vice President has been a vocal critic of some of the Duterte administration's policies, including its bloody war on drugs and the push for Charter change.
Robredo served as head of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council from July to December 2016, quitting the Cabinet after receiving a text message from Cabinet Secretary Leoncio "Jun" Evasco Jr. that Duterte wanted her to desist from attending all Cabinet meetings.
She also cited "major differences" between her and Duterte "in principles and values."
Palace to Leni : "Madame Vice President, wala pong problema ang ekonomiya."
4/ 5Oleh BNP Correspondent