Robredo tells Malacañang her office is helping solve lapses in COVID response

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 28) — Vice President Maria Leonor "Leni" Robredo reminded Malacañang on Sunday to be more open to receiving constructive criticisms, following accusations that she has been engaging in another "finger-pointing" and "nitpicking" about the government's COVID-19 response.

"Kapag masyado tayong sensitive sa puna, kawawa naman yung taong bayan. Ang panahon ngayon, hindi pwedeng patuloy na nagkakamali," Robredo said in her weekly radio show Biserbisyong Leni.

[Translation: If we are too sensitive about criticisms, it is the people who will suffer. Nowadays, we can't afford to commit lapses.]

She added: "Sana makinig naman. Sana wag masyadong maging balat-sibuyas. Yung datos 'di galing sa akin, yung datos galing sa grupo, galing sa eksperto na mag-analisa ng datos."

[Translation: Please listen. Please don't be onion-skinned. The data did not come from me, the data came from groups, experts who analyze information.]

The Vice President responded to the remark of Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Saturday, who noted that she was only "looking at the glass half-empty, and focusing on the shortcomings just to score political brownie points at the expense of the administration."

Robredo acknowledged that she was "really looking at a glass half-empty" but pointed out that the Office of the Vice President has been "trying to fill it up, because at a time of crisis, we cannot afford not to fill up the glass."

Robredo earlier told CNN Philippines' The Source that the administration was in a "state of denial" when it comes to lapses in the way it has been addressing the COVID-19 crisis in the country.

READ: 'State of denial:' Robredo tells gov't to stop praising itself, address missed targets in pandemic response

Roque said that Robredo's accusation was "baseless" and insisted that the administration has been transparent in its gains and lapses in performance. He also called on Robredo to instead "request" whatever information she needs from the concerned offices of the Executive department.

The presidential spokesperson earlier claimed that the Philippines was among the first in the region to lockdown the local epicenter of the outbreak.

However, Robredo noted that the government was last to shut down international travel which could have prevented the entry of coronavirus carriers to Metro Manila, and eventually to the rest of the country.

The government has also been implementing its Hatid Probinsya and Balik Probinsya programs, which some local officials blame for the sudden increase in infections in provinces that were previously COVID-free.

The University of the Philippines OCTA Research Team earlier projected that the Philippines will have 40,000 cases by June 30, citing the need to further improve the country's testing capacity and contact tracing capabilities.

At least 34,803 total cases were recorded by the Department of Health to date, with 1,236 deaths and 9,430 recoveries.

CNN Philippines' Melissa Lopez contributed to this report.