Robredo laments ‘difficult’ spot in Duterte administration
Vice President Leni Robredo explained her silence on controversial issues facing the administration on Thursday, declaring that she would rather “keep my peace” and pick her battles than to hear detractors accuse her of itching to replace President Rodrigo Duterte.
Unlike other prominent women leaders such as Senator Leila de Lima, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, and Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Robredo felt she was in a more awkward position in opposing Mr. Duterte’s policies or statements.
“When you voice out your dissent, it seems the interpretation is always because you stand to benefit. So for me, as long as it’s not absolutely necessary, I keep my peace,” the Liberal Party (LP) chair said in a television interview aired on Thursday.
“For me, I try to hold my horses if it’s not too necessary. Because I’m the Vice President, everything I say is given political color. When I say things, some will say I can’t wait to replace the President.”
“And it’s unfortunate because when you voice out your dissent, it’s because you want certain things happening to change, or certain things happening to stop. It’s not because you want to oust the President,” she added.
For months now, Robredo has been notably quiet or muted on controversial issues, including the extension of martial law in Mindanao, Mr. Duterte’s sexist remarks against women, and Malacañang’s move to ban a Rappler reporter.
Until recently, the Vice President had been vocal in criticizing the administration’s drug war, which had angered Mr. Duterte’s allies and triggered the submission of two impeachment complaints against her, neither of which, however, received an endorsement from lawmakers.
In 2016, Robredo was given the housing portfolio by Mr. Duterte shortly after the two assumed their respective offices, following the May 2016 elections, but her Cabinet stint lasted only a few months before she was forced to resign as a result of political and ideological differences with the President.
In the CNN Philippines interview, the Vice President said she considered that “very unfortunate,” though she understood that anyone with a Cabinet position, as the alter-ego of the Chief Executive, should have his full trust.
“It’s difficult if you don’t have that,” Robredo said.
Asked if she would accept another Cabinet post should the President make an offer, she said she was “open to it,” adding, “but you know, it is necessary that we discuss things.”
“Perhaps I will tell the President that I would be very much willing to work with him, I would be very much willing to support what he’s doing. But if there are things that we don’t agree on, I would have to say it. If that’s okay with him, then okay,” she said.
But the problem was that people around the President might misinterpret that, she said.
“I think the President knows that I don’t have any plans, right? That I don’t have any political ambitions… There are people around him who would have a different interpretation about things that I say or things that I do. It’s difficult,” she said. /kga
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