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Robredo had hoped for better ties with Duterte

/ 05:31 AM July 02, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — As the Duterte administration marked the halfway point of its six-year term, Vice President Leni Robredo said she had hoped for a better working relationship with the President, who continues to take a hostile stance against her.

Robredo said that while her first three years in office had been a mix of good and bad, the Office of the Vice President (OVP) was able to achieve milestones even without the President’s support.

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“What I hoped was for a good working relationship between the President and the Vice President, because that’s how it should be,” she said on her weekly radio program on Sunday. “But I think, since the beginning, the signals [of hostility] had been there.”

Robredo recalled how the President had refused a traditional joint inauguration with her in 2016. Instead, the President took his oath in Malacañang, while Robredo was sworn into office at the Quezon City Reception House, which became her office.

Eyed as enemy

“I think that was already a showcase of the problems ahead because from the start, we were eyed as his enemy,” she said.

Another sign of their cold relations, Robredo said, was when she was stripped of her appointment as head of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council.

In December 2016, she was directed to “desist from attending all Cabinet meetings” over the President’s alleged irreconcilable differences with her.

The order was sent to her through a text message by former Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr., who received the President’s instructions from his former special assistant Christopher “Bong” Go, who is now a senator.

“It would have been better if [the President and I] were supportive of each other, but we really have different positions [on] different things, such as extrajudicial killings, human rights and even how to deal with China,” Robredo said.

The administration’s hostility toward her, however, paved the way for the creation of Angat Buhay, the OVP’s flagship private-public partnership program for marginalized communities, she said.

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Since its inception, the program has spent P350 million in assisting over 300,000 families in 50 communities across the country, according to the OVP.

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TAGS: Leni Robredo, Rodrigo Duterte
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