Robredo protests Duterte's 'hotbed of shabu' tag on Naga City

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The Vice President says the accusation is a "huge insult" to the local officials and residents of Naga. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 18) — Vice President Leni Robredo is strongly protesting President Rodrigo Duterte's remark that her hometown is a "hotbed of shabu."

"Hindi natin ito ite-take sitting down, kasi unang una, hindi totoo. Kasi kung totoo ito, tayo pa iyong yuyuko para humingi ng tawad. Pero dahil hindi siya totoo, talagang magrereklamo tayo na, iyon nga, pambabastos sa lahat na taga-Naga iyon," Robredo told reporters in a chance interview in Naga City Saturday.

[Translation: "We will not take this sitting down. First of all, this is not true. Because if it were true, we would be the first ones to bow down and ask forgiveness. Since it's not true, we protest this insult to the people of Naga."]

She said the city government has sent her a "resolution of indignation" over the President's accusation.

"Pinoprotesta natin iyon (We protest) with the strongest of terms," she said, adding that it is a "huge insult" that discredits the hard work of local government officials to preserve Naga's reputation.

Officials earlier said the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency is validating reports of illegal drug operations in the city. When asked why Duterte came up with a conclusion already, Interior Officer-In-Charge Eduardo Año said the President "has his own sources."

Robredo, who has expressed willingness to lead the opposition against Duterte's policies, suspects it was part of politicking and calls it "unfair" for the administration to involve the entire city.

"Ako na lang sana iyong siraan, kasi kung ako naman iyong puntirya, ako na lang," Robredo said.

In a speech Tuesday night, Duterte said shabu has been proliferating in Robredo's hometown in Naga, as he again cast doubt on her competence as the second top government official.

"Of course she will deny it. But you can ask the hotbed of shabu in the past years, I would not mention the name… It was Naga City," Duterte said.

Robredo earlier refused to comment on the issue, saying it was not true and called on the President to focus on work, not politics.

"Ang daming problema ng bansa; asikasuhin na lang iyong problema ng bansa kaysa pulitika parati," Robredo said.

[Translation: The country has a lot of problems; let's just fix these problems instead of engaging in politics.]