Rody tells Leni: I want a separate inauguration
In yet another break from tradition, President-elect Rodrigo Duterte has told incoming Vice President Leni Robredo he wants to have separate oath-taking ceremonies on June 30, her aide said on Thursday.
Signaling the lack of warmth in relations between the two incoming officials, Duterte, who has shown no interest in appointing Robredo to a Cabinet post, has told her team he does not want her in Malacañang for the presidential inauguration.
“We were informed by the team of President-elect Rody Duterte about their preference to hold the inauguration separately,” the head of Robredo’s transition team, Boyet Dy, said in a statement.
“While we have been preparing for a joint inauguration, we respect the decision and will begin our own preparations for a simple and modest ceremony,” Dy said.
The outgoing Camarines Sur representative will take her oath in a still unspecified location in Metro Manila before Ronaldo Coner, chair of Barangay Punta Tarawal, Calabanga, the “smallest, farthest and poorest” village in her province, her aides said.
No force, effect?
But Agapito Rosales, a retired provincial prosecutor, said a barangay official had jurisdiction only within his village and the oath that Coner would administer in Manila would have “no force and effect.”
If Robredo wants to take her oath before Coner, the ceremony must be done at Punta Tarawal, Rosales said.
By tradition, the Vice President-elect takes his/her oath of office moments before the President-elect does. The 1987 Constitution mandates that the President be sworn into office at noon of June 30 but is silent on where this is to take place.
Duterte has opted for a quick and frugal ceremony at Malacañang, dispensing with elaborate rites at Quirino Grandstand, where some of the previous Presidents have taken their oaths, including outgoing President Aquino.
Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, a close friend handpicked by Duterte to be the next Speaker of the House of Representatives, said it was up to Duterte whether to have the Vice President-elect with him at his inauguration.
Alvarez, speaking at the Meet Inquirer Multimedia forum on Tuesday, said Robredo’s role in the incoming Duterte administration would not go beyond what was stated in the Constitution.
“Well, her role is specifically provided for in the Constitution as the Vice President. We will not go far from that. It’s not proper that the Vice President would not have any role at all,” he said.
His remark implies, however, that Robredo’s role will be limited to being Duterte’s successor, as the Constitution does not specify the Vice President’s functions except that he or she “may be appointed as a member of the Cabinet.”
“It’s optional on the part of the President,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez seemed stumped when asked if Robredo’s membership in the Liberal Party (LP), the erstwhile ruling party, had something to do with Duterte’s apparent reluctance to give her an important role in his administration.
“I don’t know. I think that question is best addressed to the President,” he said. Robredo was the running mate of LP standard-bearer Mar Roxas, who frequently tussled with Duterte during the campaign.
In a previous interview, Duterte cited his friendship with Robredo’s defeated rival, Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., as one of his reasons for not giving her a place in his Cabinet.
This is the first time the two top officials of the land will be sworn into office separately.
The late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, after declaring the country under martial law in 1972, did not have a Vice President for 13 years, until he called for snap elections in February 1986.
On Feb. 16, 1986, Marcos’ running mate, Arturo Tolentino, took his oath as Vice President in Malacañang before Chief Justice Ramon Aquino.
After the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution, Corazon Aquino and Salvador Laurel took their oaths of office on Feb. 25, 1986, at Club Filipino in San Juan.
Fidel V. Ramos and Joseph Estrada were sworn into office together at Rizal Park, while Estrada and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo took their oaths at Barasoain Church in Malolos, Bulacan.
Estrada’s presidency was cut short by another people power uprising. On Jan. 20, 2001, Arroyo was alone when she took her oath as President before Chief Justice Hilario Davide. She later nominated Teofisto Guingona Jr. as the Vice President, and he was sworn into office on Feb. 9, 2001.
Upon her reelection, Arroyo and Vice President Noli de Castro took their oaths of office in Cebu City on June 30, 2004.
President Aquino and Vice President Jejomar Binay also took their oaths of office at Quirino Grandstand on June 30, 2010. With a report from Juan Escandor Jr., Inquirer Southern Luzon
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