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Leni: Rody plays hard to get

But she’s not taking it against Davao mayor
By: - Reporter / @deejayapINQ
/ 12:00 AM June 28, 2016
LENI IN TOKYO       Incoming Vice President Leni Robredo charms Katsunobu Kato, a member of the Abe Cabinet, at a meeting in Tokyo. Robredo was in Tokyo over the weekend for the National Day Celebration for the Filipino Community in Japan. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

LENI IN TOKYO Incoming Vice President Leni Robredo charms Katsunobu Kato, a member of the Abe Cabinet, at a meeting in Tokyo. Robredo was in Tokyo over the weekend for the National Day Celebration for the Filipino Community in Japan. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

IT’S TOUGH to get an appointment with the next President even when you’re the next Vice President.

Vice President-elect Leni Robredo admitted on Sunday she was finding it difficult to set a meeting with President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, revealing another layer of frost to the relationship between the two leaders.

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“Nothing yet. We tried to get an appointment, but we have not found a date in his schedule. We are not yet losing hope,” she said when asked if she had the chance to talk to the man she might one day succeed.

But the Camarines Sur congresswoman said she was not taking it against the Davao City mayor.

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“I understand him. He has many things on his plate, like last month, he was busy forming his Cabinet… I am just here. We have told the people around him that any time there’s a chance, I am just waiting,” Robredo said in an interview in Japan, a transcript of which was provided by her staff.

Robredo was in Tokyo over the weekend upon the invitation of Philippine Ambassador to Japan Manuel H. Lopez for the National Day Celebration for the Filipino Community there.

The 51-year-old widow of former Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo is expected to take a key role in the vastly diminished Liberal Party (LP), the country’s second oldest political party, which might factor into the next President’s apparent wariness toward her.

Earlier this month, President Aquino said Robredo would likely be named either chair or president of the LP, many of whose members have defected to Duterte’s PDP-Laban.

Duterte has stated he is not inclined to appoint Robredo to a Cabinet post due to his friendship with her defeated rival, outgoing Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Robredo has also been  not invited to the President-elect’s inaugural at Malacañang on June 30, flouting the tradition of the country’s top two leaders being sworn into office together.

Thus, Robredo has arranged for her own oath-taking ceremony at the Quezon City Reception House, where she will also hold office.

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In the Tokyo interview, Robredo said she thought it was a blessing of sorts that the LP had come down from its pedestal as the country’s dominant political party.

“It’s a blessing in the sense that those who will remain are those who are loyal to the ideals of the party,” she said. “I think this is part of a process that a party needs to go through.”

Dozens of members of the outgoing administration party have jumped to PDP-Laban, particularly those from the House of Representatives. At its peak, the LP had almost 120 members in the 16th Congress.

By contrast, PDP-Laban now has more than 70, most of them poached from the LP in the lower chamber, from a membership of only three people, including the incoming Speaker, Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez.

“Before 2010, it started out small. In 2010, the LP grew because President [Aquino is an LP member]. Now that the President is not LP, we go back to where we were before,” Robredo said.

“This happens naturally every time there’s a change in the administration,” she said.

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