The Malacañang mouthpiece slammed the vice president on two fronts in a press conference on Monday.
The STAR/Joven Cagande, File
'What do you know about it?' Panelo says Robredo should stay mum on water concession deals
Franco Luna ( - December 16, 2019 - 2:54pm

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential spokesperson rebuked Vice President Leni Robredo anew in a press conference Monday over her comments on the president's actions against water concessionaires Manila Water and Maynilad and the delay of the release of her report on the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-illegal Drugs. 

"Wag mo nang pasukin yung hindi mo alam (Don't enter into something you know nothing about)," he said. "I don't think she knows anything about it."

Robredo on Sunday urged a more diplomatic approach in pushing for a fairer deal with the two water companies.

The vice president warned that the chief executive's aggressive behavior would scare potential investors away.

“Kapag hindi natin dinaan sa mas mahinahon na usapin, ang dami nitong collateral damage,” Robredo said Sunday on her radio show.

(If we don't run this through a calmer dialogue, this will have significant collateral damage.) 

READ: Water utilities' woes seen hurting investor confidence

Panelo also defended the president's current approach, saying, "the president has made a stand, and the stand appears to be very effective. She should know that."

Contrary to this claim, though, investors have expressed that the developments following Duterte's approach have hurt their potential confidence in the administration and left them questioning the possible risk of contract alteration.

President Rodrigo Duterte in the past few weeks has thrust into the spotlight what he said were "onerous" agreements from the water concessionaires owned by "oligarchs" who were "screwing over the government."

Most recently, on December 14, he warned that he hinted at sending the military to take over their water distribution operations. 

'Bring it on'

He also chastised the vice president's decision to delay the release of her ICAD report so the public can focus on the effects of the recent earthquake in Mindanao. 

"Mahirap kasi pag wala ka naman talagang ilalabas, at nag-iisip ka pa kung anong ilalabas mo. Hindi nga natin alam kung ano ang sinasabi niyang natuklasan niya," he added. 

(It's harder when you really don't have anything to release and you're still thinking about what to release. We don't even know what she's saying she discovered.) 

"What's taking her so long? As the president said: 'bring it on, whatever you want to come out with.'"

After spending only 18 days as co-chair of the ICAD, Robredo was removed from her position by the President days after he held a press conference where he said that he did not trust her due to her being part of the opposition. 

In response, Robredo held a press conference in her hometown of Naga City where she said that she was "only getting started" in her campaign for a bloodless 'war on drugs' which she vowed to continue even without her position. 

READ: I am only getting started — Robredo

She also announced her intent to release to the public a report containing her "findings and recommendations" during her tenure with the ICAD. 

Panelo said if this was genuine then she should have released it immediately. 

"Dapat from the very time of discovery inilabas niya yun. Noon pa, ba't di niya linabas? (She should have come out with it from the very time of discovery. She should have done it then, why didn't she?)" Panelo said. 

Robredo had sent updates to the Office of the President on her findings but Panelo has admitted that the president had not had time to read them.

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