More Duterte insults at SONA 2018? ‘I’m ready,’ says Robredo

Mara Cepeda
More Duterte insults at SONA 2018? ‘I’m ready,’ says Robredo
Vice President Leni Robredo says she had been discouraged from attending the State of the Nation Address at the Batasang Pambansa as President Rodrigo Duterte may use the occasion to again 'insult and humiliate' her

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo is dead set on attending President Rodrigo Duterte’s third State of the Nation Address on Monday, July 23, even at the risk of being insulted once again by the Chief Executive.

Robredo said in a media interview in Naga City on Friday, July 20, that she had already confirmed her attendance to the SONA last week. (READ: 10 things to expect at Duterte’s SONA 2018)

She said some people had discouraged her from attending the SONA as her presence at the event might annoy and trigger more tirades from Duterte, who had added her to the list of people he had insulted under his presidency. The President called her “incompetent” on the same day she accepted the call to lead and unite the opposition.

Oo, mag-a-attend ako kahit iyong iba ayaw akong pa-attendin. Iyong iba natatakot daw at baka insultuhin ako, baka hiyain ako. Iyong sa akin naman, una obligasyon ko na nandoon [ako],” said Robredo.

(Yes, I’ll attend even if there are people who don’t want me to attend. Some are afraid he might insult me, humiliate me. On my part, first of all, it’s my obligation to be there.) 

Sanay naman akong iniinsulto. Tingin ko hindi naman ako mababawasan. Kapag ako ininsulto…tingin ko hindi ko iyon kasalanan, ‘di ba? Maraming masasabi tungkol sa nang-insulto. Pero ako mismo, ano tayo, handang harapin kahit ano,” she added. 

(I am used to being insulted. I don’t think it would diminish me. If I were to be insulted, it wouldn’t be my fault, right? It would say so much more about the person insulting me. But me, I’m ready to face anything.) 

The Vice President said she wanted to hear what Duterte has to say about the rising inflation under his watch. She earlier called on the President to fix the economy instead, after he questioned her ability to lead the country. 

The Vice President herself had attended Duterte’s first two SONAs, despite the sour relations between her and the President. 

Robredo, who opposes the bloody campaign against  illegal drugs, resigned as housing czar in December 2016 after Duterte barred her from Cabinet meetings.  

Since then, the President and the Vice President only see each other in major events where both of them are invited. –

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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.