No Cabinet post? ‘I’m not in a hurry,’ says Robredo

Bea Cupin
No Cabinet post? ‘I’m not in a hurry,’ says Robredo
'Ok lang naman sa akin, hindi naman tayo nagmamadali,' says incoming vice president Leni Robredo, when asked about the possibility of not getting a Cabinet post

MANILA, Philippines – Her supporters may be crying foul over the president-elect’s apparent lack of plans for her, but incoming vice president Leni Robredo sees no problem with the idea of spending the early parts of her term without a Cabinet post.

Ang pagbigay naman ng Cabinet post, solely, nasa kapangyarihan niya iyon at ang sa akin naman, I can just imagine kung ano ang hirap na hinaharap ni future President Duterte. Siguro ngayon nakikita naman natin kung gaano kadami ang pumupunta sa Davao. Siguro karamihan doon ay naghahanap rin na maipasok sila sa gobyerno,” Robredo told reporters in a chance interview on Sunday, May 29, during a visit to a remote Camarines Sur barangay.

(The option of offering a Cabinet post is within the powers of the president. And I can just imagine how difficult it will be for future President Duterte. I’m sure we’ve all noticed that a lot of people are going to Davao. Probably a lot of those are looking for a post in government.)

Under the Constitution, the Vice President has no specific role in government, except to serve as the President’s replacement in case of death, resignation, or impeachment. The President may, however, opt to give the Vice President a Cabinet post. Past presidents have followed that tradition.

Duterte, speaking to media in Davao, said he and Robredo should first establish “good rapport” since they are not yet familiar with each other. Duterte’s priority, he said, was to seek potential Cabinet members from his immediate circle of friends and political allies.

Ok lang naman sa akin, hindi naman tayo nagmamadali. Gaya nga ng sabi ko, tingin ko, kung ano naman iyong nakatakda, iyon naman ang mabibigay sa akin. Alam niyo iyong Cabinet post kasi, iyon ang alter ego ng President. Siyempre, ang gusto niyang ilagay doon ay iyong buo ang kanyang tiwala,” added Robredo.

(It doesn’t bother me. I’m not in a hurry. Like said I said, I’ll get what I’m meant to get. When you get a Cabinet post, you’re the alter ego of the president. Of course, he’ll want to appoint people whom he trusts fully.)

Both Duterte and Robredo are set to be proclaimed on Monday, May 30, as Congress reconvenes as the National Board of Canvassers. On Friday last week, canvassing wrapped up, showing Duterte with an overwhelming lead and Robredo, with a slim win against chief rival Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (READ: What will happen in Duterte, Robredo proclamation?)

Robredo had earlier said she planned on meeting Duterte personally, to reassure him of her support.

Sabi ko nga hindi ko naman inambisyon ang pag congresswoman, binigay sa akin. Hindi ko naman inambisyon ang pag VP, binigay sa akin. Parang bonus na lang sa akin ang Cabinet position,” Robredo said, when asked if a Cabinet post was among the things she was praying for. 

(It was never my ambition to be a congresswoman, but it was given to me. I never aspired to be the vice president, but it was given to me. A Cabinet position would just be a bonus.)

She added: “Kung ibibigay, salamat. Kung hindi, baka gustong sabihin niyan, asikasuhin ko na lang ang pagiging vice president ko. Maghanap ng mga adbokasiyang mas makakatulong para sa bansa.”

(If I’m given one, thank you. But if I’m not, maybe that means I should just focus on being vice president. I’ll focus on an advocacy that would help the country better.)   

While Robredo and the Davao City mayor aren’t quite familiar with each other, the Camarines Sur representative is friends with his daughter, incoming Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte. The two even met and shared a meal when Robredo went to Davao City for a campaign sortie. – Rappler.com

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.