Vice President Leni Robredo said Monday she had long stopped listening to President Rodrigo Duterte's weekly late-night report to the nation because she got the sense that the chief executive was not fully aware of the gravity of the pandemic.
Robredo said it was also "frustrating" how the last couple of editions of "Talk to the People" have devolved into a venue to criticize the Commission on Audit for checking on the Department of Health and platform to attack senators who expressed intention to run in the 2022, where Duterte is seeking the vice presidency.
The President's address, usually on Mondays, is actually taped from a Cabinet meeting and is aired late at night, close to midnight or the morning of the following day. Duterte had long said that he is a nocturnal person who does a bulk of his work in the night.
"Huminto na ako the past several months so nakikita ko na lang 'yung transcript of that. 'Pag pinakikinggan ko at binabasa ko ang transcript, may sense ako na hindi n'ya (Duterte) alam ang lahat ng detalye," Robredo told ANC.
"The last two press conferences were really quite frustrating for us kasi nasa middle tayo ng surge na kailangan all hands on deck, 'yung urgency is really the most important now, tapos ang greater part of press conference is pinupuna ang mga senador, pinupuna ang COA."
There seems to be a disconnect between what Duterte says government will do versus what is happening on the ground, Robredo said.
"From my vantage point, nakikita ang sigasig na ginagawa ng mga ahensya, 'yung mga LGUs tingin ko ito talaga ang strongest link natin ngayon pero parang walang nagkukumpas... kaya maraming disconnect sa taas."
What will Robredo do?
Robredo said she was tempted to ask Duterte to let her take the reins in the COVID-19 pandemic response. If she were to handle the COVID-19 crisis, the Vice President said she would check if there are unspent funds that can be deployed elsewhere.
"We saw in the COA report na may pera e, may pera na hndi nagagastos," she said.
"Ito bang pera na natira natin, puwede ba natin ito gastusin sa healthcare workers? Kasi kung hindi, dapat may gawin tayo."
Robredo said she would also allot more funds to hire medical frontliners and to purchase high-flow oxygen tanks and ventilators, based on the Office of the Vice President's experience in handling its teleconsultation program Bayanihan E-Konsulta.
"Talagang kailangan may kumukumpas sa taas kasi kung may kumukumpas, hindi dapat nangyayari ito," she said.