Robredo taking lead vs Duterte admin a ‘morale boost’ for opposition

Mara Cepeda
Robredo taking lead vs Duterte admin a ‘morale boost’ for opposition
Administration critic Senator Antonio Trillanes IV says he is willing to take a step back and give Vice President Leni Robredo 'the space that she needs to deliver the message to the people'

MANILA, Philippines – Key opposition members said Vice President Leni Robredo’s lead role in the opposition is a “morale boost” for all Filipinos critical of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration. 

On Friday, July 13, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and former Commission on Human Rights chairperson Etta Rosales welcomed Robredo’s earlier announcement that she would lead and unite the opposition.

Robredo, Trillanes, and Rosales were among the opposition figures who attended the GenWe: Tambayan youth concert against charter change held at the Sagul Malingap Foodpark in Quezon City.

It was the first opposition-led event Robredo attended since she said she has accepted the call to be opposition leader on July 10.

‘It’s going to be a very big boost for the morale of the public who are rooting for the opposition,” Trillanes told Rappler.

The senator himself already earned the ire of Duterte and his relatives for being one of their fiercest critics. But Trillanes said he is willing to take a step back so Robredo will be able to convey her message. (READ: Trillanes says PNP removed his security escort)

“Internally, it changes the dynamics, so that could mean that those of us in the forefront right now would step back and give her the space that she needs to deliver the message to the people,” said Trillanes. 

For Rosales, the time was ripe for Robredo to become the opposition leader, citing the 11-point decline in Duterte’s satisfaction ratings in the latest Social Weather Stations survey. (READ: 88% of Filipinos approve of Duterte before ‘God is stupid’ remark)

“I’m so glad that she finally came out with the announcement. With Duterte’s satisfaction rating falling by 11 points, it’s just right that she came out to say, ‘I am willing to unite the opposition, lead the opposition,’” said Rosales.

Napakalaki na she rallies them, the country. Ang tao, talagang naghihintay sila,” she added.

(It’s a big deal for her to rally the country. The people have long been waiting for her.)

But the Vice President, whose approval and trust ratings went up in the latest Pulse Asia survey, did not grant any media interviews on Friday.  

Despite her announcement on July 10, the Vice President explained she has long taken on the opposition role, as she had been criticizing some of Duterte’s policies and decisions in the past two years. These include critiques of the drug war, charter change, and the hero’s burial for the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos

In December 2016, Robredo resigned as housing czar after Duterte barred her from attending meetings. –

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at or tweet @maracepeda.