Supporters to Robredo: Work with Duterte despite differences

Mary Gleefer Jalea, Renzo Acosta

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Supporters to Robredo: Work with Duterte despite differences
Despite the notable common goals and platforms shared by President Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo, the two have yet to meet since getting elected

MANILA, Philippines – As Leni Robredo took her oath as the 14th Vice President of the Philippines on Thursday, June 30, supporters asked her to work with President Rodrigo Duterte despite their differences.

During Robredo’s inauguration ceremony, a group of women wearing matching yellow shirts, waited outside the gates to see the new VP. One of them is Ester Frago, a former faculty member of the Ateneo De Manila University and a former schoolmate of Robredo during her days at Universidad de Sta Isabel in Naga.

According to Frago, she has always believed in the potential of Robredo. Even during Robredo’s grade school and high school days, she already saw in her the making of a leader. “Leni is so patient and so well-contained,” Frago said.

Despite the notable common goals and platforms shared by Robredo and Duterte, a stark contrast can be seen in their personalities. Duterte’s cold relationship with the vice president also started when the former said that the reason he did not offer Robredo a Cabinet post is because he did not want to hurt the feelings of his friend, Bongbong Marcos.

Robredo won the tight vice presidential race with 14,418,817 votes against Marcos’ 14,155,344 votes.

“(I hope) she doesn’t take it personally,” Frago said. 

While Duterte and Robredo have been sworn in, the two have yet to meet. There have been previous plans for a sit-down meeting but it was cancelled due to conflicting schedules.

Robredo has previously said that she is willing to work out their differences, even urging the Filipino people to unite behind the Duterte administration.

Josefina Constantino, 78, along with her fellow members of the Lakas ng Kababaihan ng Naga Federation, an organization founded by Robredo during the 1990s, were also present during the event.

The group had been instrumental in the campaign and victory of Robredo, especially among her women supporters.

“Leni has always extended her guidance and support to us. I hope that together with Duterte, they will push for women empowerment in the society,” said Constantino.  

Uplifting the marginalized

Robredo’s “inaangat sa laylayan” (uplift from the fringes) mantra is dedicated to the poor and marginalized sectors in the country. This is why the children from the Payatas Kids’ Choir were asked to perform during the inauguration.

After the event, the kids expressed their happiness for being given a chance to perform in front of notable personalities in the country. “Masaya kami dahil yung talento ng mga bata ay nagamit nila para maging inspirasyon sa mga kabataan,” a member said.

(We’re happy because the talent of the kids was used to inspire the youth.)

 “We in Payatas consider ourselves as part of the laylayan,” another member said. “Dito pa lang sa pagpili niya sa amin, damang-dama namin na may pag-asa kaming mga nasa laylayan na umangat o mabigyang-tuon ng gobyerno.” (With her choosing us, we already feel the hope that we will rise and be given attention by the government)

MESSAGE. The children of the Payatas Kids Choir thank Robredo for giving them a chance to inspire the youth. Photo by Gleefer Jalea and Renzo Acosta/ Rappler

In his speech earlier, Duterte emphasized his plan of “uplifting the poor from the mire” by promising to end corruption in the country. In Robredo’s inaugural speech, she said, “What brings us together as a nation is more powerful than what pulls us apart.”

A unique mix in the message of care and power brought by the new administration brings together a pang of hope for the supporters, even from opposing parties and points of view.  

“I think they will eventually work together because they have the same goal, which is to work for the laylayan ng lipunan,” said Frago. “If the president really means that, he cannot ignore her.” – 

Renzo Acosta and Gleefer Jalea are Rappler interns. Renzo is a student of University of Santo Tomas while Gleefer studies in University of Asia and the Pacific.

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