Tense encounter? Duterte, Robredo to attend PMA graduation

Brace for some awkward moments at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) graduation on Sunday, March 12, as both President Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo are likely to be there.

The two officials with the highest elective positions in the land don't exactly see eye to eye, yet they might find themselves seated close to one another during the event.

A Palace official close to the President confirmed to Rappler Duterte's attendance. Robredo's camp also confirmed the Vice President will be there.

This will be the first time the two will be seen attending the same public event since Robredo resigned from Duterte's Cabinet in December.

The two officials already saw one another during the first Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council meeting last January 31 in Malacañang, an encounter the Palace described as "civil."

Since then, Robredo's political party, the Liberal Party, has received a whipping from Duterte administration allies.

Fierce Duterte critic Senator Leila de Lima was arrested on drug charges, while LP senators were stripped of their Senate committee chairmanships, prompting LP members to cry "political persecution."

The series of events led Robredo to accuse Duterte of being "obsessed with monopolizing power."

Presidents or vice presidents typically attend PMA graduation ceremonies to meet the new batch of future military and police officers.

Duterte attended the PMA Homecoming last February 18 where he was adopted into the PMA Alumni Association, an honor bestowed on only select mistahs or PMA classmates.

The public spat between Duterte and Robredo was first formalized when, after being prohibited by Duterte from attending Cabinet meetings, Robredo resigned from her post as housing czar.

Robredo has publicly spoken against many of the Duterte administration's policies, such as the drug war, the hero's burial for the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, and the death penalty. (READ: Robredo to Duterte: 'Mr President, we call you to task'– with a report from Patty Pasion / Rappler.com 

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.