Robredo: I don't have political skill to oust Duterte

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday, December 6, again rejected accusations that she is plotting the ouster of President Rodrigo Duterte.

"Tingin ko wala akong ganoong political skill (I think I don't have that political skill)," Robredo said in a chance interview on Tuesday, a day after she officially resigned as chairperson of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC).

There have long been allegations that Robredo and the Liberal Party (LP) plan to oust Duterte.

Robredo on Tuesday pointed out that she was even reluctant to take the leadership position of the LP. Party rules dictate that the highest elected official should be the LP chairperson. (READ: Becoming Leni Robredo)

"Wala namang ganoon (plot). Sa tingin ko sa lahat ng nakakakilala sa akin, halimbawa, iyong partido nga namin, mayroon akong reluctance to take on the leadership," the Vice President said.

(There's no plot. I think all those who know me, for example in our party, I was reluctant to take on the leadership.) 

'Out of respect'

Robredo also defended her participation in the Bantayog ng mga Bayani event that honored Martial Law victims as heroes on November 30, which coincided with the grand anti-Marcos rally at the People Power Monument.

This was in response to Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella's statement that Duterte was uncomfortable with Robredo's political actions.

"I didn't join anti-Marcos protests. What I attended was the occasion of the Bantayog ng mga Bayani and that was not an action against the administration," the Vice President said in Filipino. 

Robredo also emphasized that she was at the event as a guest of the late Inquirer editor-in-chief Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc, who was one of the awardees. Robredo and LP interim president Senator Francis Pangilinan also agreed to attend because the late senator Jovito Salonga, who was LP chairman emeritus, was honored there. 

But if she were not part of the Cabinet at the time, the recently resigned housing czar said she would have joined the protests over the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

"Ako siguro kung wala ako sa Gabinete ni Pangulong Duterte, gusto ko ding lumahok sa mga mass actions na nagpapakita ng outrage sa pamilya Marcos. Pero hindi ko nga iyon ginawa dahil nasa Gabinete ako ni Pangulo," Robredo said.

(If I weren't part of President Duterte's Cabinet, I probably would have joined the mass actions showing outrage against the Marcos family. But I didn't because I was a member of the President's Cabinet.)

The Vice President has said that her statement condemning the hero's burial for Marcos may have been the clincher that made Duterte order her to stop attending Cabinet meetings. (READ: How did Duterte break with Robredo? Through text message)

A few other Cabinet members have also opposed the hero's burial for Marcos.

For instance, National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) head Liza Maza and Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Rafael Mariano attended the rally last November 25, which was organized by the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacañang (Carmma) with several leftist groups. 

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Judy Taguiwalo did not attend that rally, but a recorded message from her was played during the program proper.

Maza, Mariano, and Taguiwalo are among the Cabinet members who hail from the Left movement. Malacañang has said that the 3 were not sanctioned because their opinions stemmed from "ideological conviction." – Rappler.com 

Patty Pasion

Patty leads the Rappler+ membership program. She used to be a Rappler multimedia reporter who covered politics, labor, and development issues of vulnerable sectors.

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