A post for Leni? That never crossed my mind, says Duterte
DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Contrary to what his representatives are saying, President-elect Rodrigo Dutere said it never crossed his mind to give Vice President-elect Leni Robredo a position in his Cabinet.
Duterte said he was still thinking of what posts to give his “loyal” friends who helped him win the presidency.
“That never entered my mind,” the President-elect said when asked what position Robredo would hold. He spoke to the media after meeting some friends in a hotel in this city.
“I’m not trying to be smart aleck, but I’m still trying to figure out the selection in my own group and party. I shouldn’t be looking beyond my borders,” he explained.
Pressed further for an answer, an irked Duterte quipped: “No, I don’t even know her!”
“Why should I talk to her? I said I’ve not considered anything for her. I am more worried about where I would place the friends na nagkautang ako ng loob,” he said.
He contradicted a statement by his losing running mate Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, who said Duterte was considering a post tailored for Robredo. The Vice President-elect has said she wanted to pursue the antipoverty programs of the government.
Explaining the earlier statements of his allies, Duterte said his spokespersons never meant that a job was already waiting for Robredo. What was available was an “opening of an opportunity.”
“If it’s just an opening of an opportunity, it would come later. It doesn’t mean to say the door is open and there’s already the job waiting. Maybe we can talk of just having a good rapport in the meantime. Because we don’t even know each other yet,” he said.
Duterte denied that he was only favoring his friends and fraternity brothers, saying that would be “stupid.” He said that he had appointees who were not his childhood friends.
He blamed his limited social circle to his lack of interest in socializing when he was still a student and even when he entered politics three decades ago.
Duterte studied in Davao until he graduated from high school. He spent his college days in Manila, where he earned his degree in political science at the Lyceum of the Philippines University. He later studied law in Manila at San Beda College.
“Ako kasi probinsyano. The only time I went to Manila ay noong nag-aral ako. So ang aking sphere of influence, sa dorm, sa school at mga brod ko na close sa akin. Even when I was a congressman, I wasn’t socializing actually,” he said.
“Ang kilala ko lang mga ka-brod ko at kababata ko na mahusay and then I said, I could not have selected from a larger portion of the population for the simple reason that ang horizon ko or dimension ko sa aking pagkatao limitado ako, school dorm, friends mga kabrod, yun lang, lahat taga-Davao na,” he added.
Duterte however said that when appointing someone to a sensitive position, he first makes sure that he could trust the person and that he knows enough of his or her capacity and character./rga
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