Abolish OVP? Let the public, not politicians, decide – Robredo

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo said the public must agree with any proposals to amend the 1987 Constitution, including the abolition of her office under federalism.

Robredo was sought for comment on the proposed structure of the Philippine government under a federal system presented by the House sub-committee on constitutional amendments on Tuesday, January 16. 

The Office of the Vice President (OVP) is abolished under this proposed government structure. 

"Sa akin, bilang Pangalawang Pangulo, ang alam kong ibinigay sa akin, 6 na taon. Ang puwede lang bumawi noong mandatong iyon, taumbayan din. Kaya iyong lahat na proposals, amendments sa Konstitusyon ay kailangang tanungin iyong mga tao kung sang-ayon sila dito," said Robredo in a chance interview in Quezon City.

(For me, as Vice President, I know I was given 6 years. Only the people can take away that mandate. They must agree with all the proposals, all the amendments to the Constitution.)

She said any moves to amend the Constitution and change the system of government should be a thorough process, with each new provision carefully studied.

But Robredo said she would respect the public's decision should Filipinos agree to abolish the OVP. 

"Kung palagay ng taumbayan hindi na kinakailangan iyong pangalawang pangulo, tayo naman, parati tayong magrerespeto sa kagustuhan ng taumbayan. Pero kinakailangan kahilingan ito ng tao, hindi ng ibang pulitiko," she said.

(If the public thinks the position of vice president is no longer needed, we will respect their wishes. But this must be the will of the people, not of other politicians.)

Robredo's legal adviser Barry Gutierrez had more scathing words on the possible abolition of the OVP under federalism. 

He said the last time the Philippines did not have a vice president was during the iron-fist rule of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. 

President Rodrigo Duterte has been championing a shift to federalism since the campaign period for the 2016 polls. (WATCH: Rappler Talk: Federalism in PH – what Duterte's party is proposing)

Duterte argued federalism would decentralize power and wealth away from "Imperial Manila" and empower the other regions. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.