Has Duterte done any good? Robredo says yes, but he missed out on many things
MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo believes President Rodrigo Duterte has done some good for the country, regardless of what he had been saying about her, such as that she was intent on criticizing him and his administration no matter what they do.
“I think there are many things [he has done],” she said, speaking mainly in Filipino, in an interview with Vanguard Radio Network on Friday. “I think the Build, Build, Build — I think that’s okay. It’s okay in helping [the country]. There are many laws that have been passed.”
“For example, Universal Health Care was passed. There were many [bills on] health legislation that were passed, and I think, to a very large extent, it’s because of the President. We know that when the President says it’s urgent it gets passed,” she added.
On the other hand, Robredo said the President missed out on a lot of things — and he had been a divisive, rather than a unifying, figure.
The Duterte administration has been heavily criticized for its alleged disregard of human rights, with many people condemning its bloody drug war.
Critics, particularly those in the opposition, have repeatedly accused Duterte of being subservient to China’s interests and, recently, of incompetence in managing the government’s to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I feel we have wasted what could have been milestones,” Robredo said. “I feel they’re wasted in the sense that all the good things that have been done would have had a better effect on all of us if they had been laid out properly. For me, there were many missed opportunities.”
“What’s really sad is the polarization. For me, the President could have been more unifying — in the sense that we could have achieved more if our collective action had been there. I wish he would not look at suggestions, the criticisms, as a threat, a threat to his government,” she went on.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, Robredo had been a vocal figure for the opposition, with her criticisms even landing her a Cabinet post again in late 2019, with Duterte appointing her as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs.
Duterte cut short her tenure, believing that she had been talking with individuals that rebuked him and his administration.
Amid the pandemic, Robredo did not stop criticizing the administration, while at the same time giving suggestions — again earning Duterte’s ire. Last Monday, the President lamented that Robredo always found something to nitpick on whatever he and his Cabinet did or did not do.
But Robredo clarified that her views were not only meant for Duterte. They were for anyone who might replace him in the 2022 elections — because she had observed that the country seemed to always go into a “reboot” with every new president, particularly one belonging to a party different from that of the previous one.
Since 1992, when then-President Corazon Aquino supported her former defense chief, Fidel Ramos, in the next presidential election, no outgoing and incoming presidents belonged to the same party. The closest scenario happened was in 2004, when then-Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo took over the presidency with the ouster of President Joseph Estrada.
“It seems that every time there’s a new president we go into a reboot. I think that’s bad for the country — that anything associated with the past administration, even if it’s good, will no longer be continued because it’s associated with the past administration. For me, I wish all that’s good should be continued. All that’s not good should be replaced,” Robredo said.
“These [suggestions] are not just for President Duterte. But I think, moving forward, they are for whoever takes over — hopefully, more unifying, more inclusive, and you know, more long-tern in perspective,” she added.
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