Robredo returns to Malacañang
Vice President Leni Robredo advised President Duterte on policy issues and sought clarifications about the administration’s legislative priorities on Monday night, in their first encounter in Malacañang since she quit his Cabinet last year.
At the invitation of the Palace, Robredo participated in the first Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) with Mr. Duterte and leaders of Congress, including Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
“As a mandated member of LEDAC, Vice President Leni Robredo attended Tuesday’s meeting to perform her legal duty to provide policy advice to the President,” said Georgina Hernandez, Robredo’s spokesperson.
Photographs of the meeting provided by her office showed Robredo seated between Pimentel and Alvarez and right across Mr. Duterte.
Robredo raised a number of “clarifications” about certain bills prioritized by the Duterte administration, and pushed legislative measures, including those on food security, freedom of information, anti-discrimination and land use.
It was the first time Robredo returned to the Palace after she quit her post as chair of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council nearly two months ago. Mr. Duterte had also barred the Vice President from attending Cabinet meetings.
Warm and civil
Ernesto Abella, the President’s spokesperson, said Robredo was “warmly received” by the President, and described the atmosphere as civil.
He said the President “made a humorous reference” about Robredo’s purple dress and smooth knees, which he said was a “Visayan reference” to women who were not prayerful.
“I think the Vice President understood the context this time,” Abella said, adding that Mr. Duterte was observed “smiling” as he chatted with Robredo.
“Everybody seems to be civil. Everybody is mature about these things,” he said.
In a speech in Tacloban City last November, the President, an avowed womanizer, had joked that he often leered at the Vice President’s knees during the Cabinet meetings.
He said then that he wanted to ask Robredo to just “wear shorts” because she would often come to the meetings in “skirts which are shorter than usual.”
Robredo had described the remark as tasteless.
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