Belmonte hopes for better relationship between Duterte, Robredo
Outgoing Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. on Tuesday said President-elect Rodrigo Duterte should be given time to reach out to Vice President-elect Leni Robredo in leading the country under the next administration.
“Let’s give them a chance. Ngayon pa lang naman sila magsisimula (They have just started),” Belmonte said after the turnover of the 1935 bronze bust of national hero Jose Rizal by Guillermo Tolentino to the House of Representatives.
Belmonte made the remark about a seeming wedge between Duterte and Robredo, with Duterte refusing to give Robredo a Cabinet position on top of her duties as Vice President, long perceived as merely a “spare tire” position.
“It’s just a matter of time (before) they get themselves to getting into a working relationship with each other,” Belmonte said.
Belmonte said Robredo has assured Duterte her full support even though they come from different political parties.
“Each will become a reality, in the political life of the country–one will become really the President, the other one will become really the Vice President. At some point, magkakaroon din sila ng pagkakataon mag-usap (they will also have a chance to talk),” Belmonte said.
Robredo, the outgoing Camarines Sur congresswoman, has said she was having a difficult time setting a meeting with Duterte even though she was elected the country’s second highest official.
“We tried to get an appointment, but we have not found a date in his schedule. We are not yet losing hope,” Robredo was quoted as saying in an Inquirer report.
“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,” she added.
In an earlier press conference, Duterte said he was “non-committal” about giving Robredo a Cabinet post because he did not want to hurt his friend, Senator Bongbong Marcos, who lost to Robredo in the vice presidential race.
Duterte has also asked for a separate inauguration from Robredo on June 30, fueling speculation of Duterte’s refusal of a harmonious relationship with Robredo because she is from the outgoing administration’s Liberal Party.
Duterte’s camp clarified that this was not intended to snub Robredo but only to allow her to invite more guests in her own inauguration. CDG/rga
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