Leni Robredo takes her oath as the 14th Vice President of the Philippines in a short and simple ceremony at the Quezon City Reception House.
She holds back tears as she appeals for unity, stressing that this is “most important for the nation.”
Bea Cupin reports. – Rappler.com
Leni Robredo is usually stoic in public speeches, always able to keep her emotions in check even when talking about the best – and the worst moments of her life.
But when she spoke for the first time as the country’s 14th vice president, she let the emotions show.
LENI ROBREDO, PHILIPPINE VICE PRESIDENT: Some moments in our lives leave a mark much more than others. When Jesse and I met. When I looked upon the faces of my children for the first time. When Jesse’s plane crashed. Now, we are in another remarkable moment.
Robredo is surrounded by family, friends, former workmates, and political allies as she formally takes over the second-highest elective post in the land.
It’s been a storybook campaign for the neophyte legislator.
In a 6-way race against incumbent senators, Robredo had to deal with low awareness ratings and even lower preference numbers.
But from one percent, Maria Leonor Gerona Robredo is now vice president.
The “laylayan” – or the fringes of society – takes centerstage in a “modest” inauguration that sees outgoing Cabinet officials, sitting legislators, urban poor leaders, and farmers in its guest list.
LENI ROBREDO, PHILIPPINE VICE PRESIDENT: We have to do right for the majority, not only for the few. We have to be true to our sworn duty even if it goes against our personal interest. I grew up in this kind of service and we’re going to continue this while I still live. The doors of the Office of the Vice President is open to all, whatever your status in life, your belief, or your party. My office will always listen to the voice of the people.
Robredo promises to visit the farthest and smallest barangays in her first 100 days, keeping with her promise to serve the marginalized.
Even during the campaign, this has been Robredo’s promise: to be the voice of the marginalized and lead programs to alleviate poverty.
But it’s not going to be easy.
Unlike vice presidents of the past, Robredo will not be holding a concurrent Cabinet post.
And unlike her predecessors, hers is an inauguration separate from the president.
Robredo and President Rodrigo Duterte have yet to meet or talk in person since winning the 2016 elections.
But speaking before her supporters, Robredo emphasizes the importance of unity in the quest of much-needed change.
LENI ROBREDO, PHILIPPINE VICE PRESIDENT: For change to happen in our country, it must start in every Filipino. If we become united, nothing is impossible. Like what Jesse said when he was still alive: What brings us together as a nation is far more powerful than what pulls us apart. During the times that we are apart, only unity will bring us hope. Even if we come from different backgrounds, we only have one goal: for each Filipino family to live with dignity.
Duterte too has promised changed and unity.
Now that Robredo – and Duterte – are officially sworn into office, campaign promises are turning into policy. In separate speeches, the two say that unity is the only way to bring in long-awaited change.
But are they – and the allies surrounding them – ready to shed their political color and affiliations? The next 6 years await.
Bea Cupin, Rappler, Manila.
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