MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo denied she is involved in any plot against President Rodrigo Duterte nor has she attended protest rallies calling for his ouster even as she has openly criticized his policies.
“I am not aware of, much less am I involved in, any effort to ‘oust’ the President. Furthermore, I categorically deny joining rallies that called for the President’s ouster,” Robredo said in a statement on Friday, December 30.
Robredo said Duterte should stop imagining plots against him. “Criticism is not conspiracy, and the administration is well advised to stop seeing ‘plots’ behind every unflattering news report, irate citizens’ assembly, or angry Facebook post,” she said.
Duterte told GMA News in an interview on Thursday, December 29, that he is not likely to give Robredo another Cabinet position because of her supposed participation in anti-Duterte protests.
“You are there, and you are part of the crowd. You may not really be asking for it, but you are part of the crowd who says want me out,” Duterte elaborated in a separate interview with CNN Philippines on the same day.
Robredo, who opposed the burial of the late Philippine Dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, attended an event at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani to honor Martial Law Victims. It made Palace officials uncomfortable, but Robredo said it was “not an action against the administration.”
Robredo said she does not support calls to oust the President, but she believes that criticisms against Duterte and his administration are necessary.
“To my understanding, many criticisms of the President have come about as a reaction to his own actions and statements – the Marcos burial at Libingan ng mga Bayani, the ongoing extrajudicial killings, the proposed restoration of the death penalty, and the retreat from our West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) claims, among others,” Robredo said.
“It is the right of every citizen in our democracy to express her opinion, and this includes those critical of or in opposition to an incumbent government. This principle is a cornerstone of our free Republic,” she added.
Robredo resigned as housing chief earlier this month after she was ordered to stop attending Cabinet meetings. Malacanang officials cited “irreconcilable differences” behind Duterte’s orders.
Aside from the US, Malacañang has singled out Robredo’s party, the Liberal Party (LP), for supposedly plotting against Duterte. The US and LP have repeatedly denied the allegation. (READ: PH stirs talk of US plot vs Duterte ahead of Trump inauguration) – Lian Buan/Rappler.com