VP to VP: Binay, Robredo meet ahead of inauguration
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Days before she is set to take her oath as the country's second-highest elected official, Vice President-elect Leni Robredo met with outgoing Vice President Jejomar Binay to chat about their "shared experiences" and the task at hand.
The two met at Robredo's home in Quezon City on Monday afternoon, June 27, accompanied by their respective staff members.
"Sabi niya pupunta siya sakin. Sabi ko, 'Hindi, ako na pupunta sa iyo,'" Binay said of the Monday meeting.
(She told me she'd go and visit me but I insisted that I'd be the one to pay her a visit.)
Robredo, meanwhile, said Binay made the visit to personally congratulate her and to offer his help, should it be needed.
"[He told me that] any time na may puwede siyang itulong sakin, tawagan lang siya [o] tawagan lang ang kanyang chief of staff. Sobrang bait," said Robredo.
(He told me that if there were any way he could help, I should just call him or his chief of staff. He was very kind.)
The incoming vice president also invited her predecessor to her oath-taking on Thursday, June 30, at the Quezon City Reception House, the new home of the Office of the Vice President (OVP).
Binay declined, however, saying he would not want to cause tension between Robredo and the Liberal Party (LP) which she belongs to.
The two ran under different banners in the 2016 elections – Binay from the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) and Robredo, from the then-ruling LP. Binay was the UNA standard-bearer but lost the race to President-elect Rodrigo Duterte.
Robredo said she would invite Binay to another future occasion instead.
Shared experiences, sage advice
Binay said they talked about "shared experiences" over food. Monday also happens to be Robredo and her late husband Jesse's wedding anniversary. "Nakakain pa ako (We shared a meal)," quipped Binay.
The two vice presidents shared a meal of bihon, bicol express, and gulay na santol, according to a press release from the current Office of the Vice President.
"You should always consider your office a public office and that people will go to you for assistance," Binay told Robredo.
Although they come from opposing political camps, Binay and Robredo have several things in common. They are both lawyers and both took strong stands – albeit in different capacities – against late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
Binay was a human rights lawyer during the Marcos dictatorship. Robredo, meanwhile, joined student protests back then.
Unlike Binay, however, Robredo will not have a concurrent Cabinet post on top of being vice president. (READ: How Robredo plans to 'hit the ground running' as VP)
Under the Philippine Constitution, the vice president has no specific role in government. Traditionally, a president appoints the vice president to the Cabinet. Binay, despite belonging to a different ticket from outgoing President Benigno Aquino III, was given the housing portfolio.
He also served as an adviser on concerns of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
President-elect Duterte earlier said he is not keen on appointing Robredo to the Cabinet just yet because he does not know her personally.
Binay doesn't see this as a problem. "Makakagawa ka ng paraan para mag-trabaho kung gusto mo (You'll always be able to find a way to work if you want to)," said the outgoing vice president.
Binay travelled extensively during his vice presidency, something Robredo plans to do as well.
“Ang sipag n’yo ho mag-ikot. ‘Yong mga lugar na akala ko ako pa lang ang nakapunta, sinasabi ng nga tao, galing na si VP Binay dito. Tapos ‘yong ibang lugar, hindi lang isang beses n’yo pinuntahan,” Robredo told Binay, according to a statement released by the current Office of the Vice President.
(You’re tireless in going around the Philippines. There were areas where I thought only I had been to, but the people there would say VP Binay has been here. And you’ve been to some areas more than once.)
Binay was the first to declare his plans to run for president – as early as 2010. Robredo, meanwhile, has insisted that she does not have plans of running for president after her vice presidential term. – Rappler.com