Robredo: Local governance will seal partnership with Duterte

Patty Pasion
Robredo: Local governance will seal partnership with Duterte
The Vice President-elect says that instead of renting an office for her at the expensive Coconut Palace, satellite offices in the countryside is a better option

MANILA, Philippines – There are many ways President-elect Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President-elect Leni Robredo are different from each other. But this does not worry Robredo as she knows there is something close to both their hearts: local government concerns.

“Pareho kaming galing sa probinsya na malayo sa Maynila. Parehong non-traditional ang pagtingin namin sa pulitika. Palagay ko sufficient similarities ‘yun na p’wede naming pagsimulan,” Robredo said in a news briefing after Congress proclaimed her on Monday, May, 30.

(We both came from provinces outside Manila. We both have a non-traditional approach to politics. I think those are sufficient similarities we can bank on [as foundation of our work relationship.])

She explained that their background may also shape the policies and decisions their administration will prioritize. (READ: Robredo wins as VP on late husband’s birthday

Duterte, son of the late governor of the united Davao province, himself became the longtime mayor of Davao City. Robredo, currently congresswoman of the 3rd district of Camarines Sur, is the wife of the late Naga City mayor and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo.

“Napakalaking bagay na pareho ang aming pinanggalingan, ‘yung understanding niya sa problema ng local mas-pronounced…makaka-impluwensya ‘yun sa desisyon namin ng polisiya kasi alam ‘yung intricacies ng local,”  she said.

(It’s a big thing that we both came [from local posts]. His understanding of the problems of the locals are more pronounced. It could influence the way we decide on policies because he knowsn the intricacies of [local governance].) 


Federalism, death penalty

Robredo acknowledged that some of her principles and priorities do not coincide with the bold plans of the Duterte presidency. There is, for one, his most pronounced platform of shifting to a federal system of government. (READ: Duterte’s pitch for federalism: Centralized system holds back PH)

“I can’t say that I am all for it, but I am open to considering it,” she said in a mix of English and Filipino.

But more than the shift to federalism, Robredo expressed that Duterte’s plan to restore the death penalty is something she does not approve.   

“We have a different stance on restoring death penalty. And I hope [we can work on it] in the course of our working relationship.”

But this, she promised: “Kahit magkaiba kami ng pananaw, parati kong ma-assure na 100% ng suporta ko nasa kanya.” (Even though we have different views, I can always assure him that I will support him 100%.)  

Pushing for rural development

Robredo stressed that she wants to focus her mandate as vice president on pushing for rural development. She is considering moving the Office of the Vice President from the Coconut Palace, where Vice President Jejomar Binay is currently holding office.

She said that the monthly cost to lease the Coconut Palace is about P500,000 – a fund that may very well be diverted to developing rural areas.

“Pag-aaralan kung logical ba o prudent ba ng mag-opisina sa Coconut Palace or may option na mas mura,” she said. (We will study if it is logical or prudent to continue holding office at the Cocount Palace or if we have cheaper options.)

“Because our focus is rural development, I think it would be helpful that there are satellite offices. Maybe we can re-allocate the funds from the central operation to the satellite offices,” she said.

The newly-proclaimed vice president is eyeing as office the second floor of the Philippine National Bank office in Pasay City, where the Officee of the Vice President was situated during the time of Vice President Noli de Castro. – 

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Patty Pasion

Patty leads the Rappler+ membership program. She used to be a Rappler multimedia reporter who covered politics, labor, and development issues of vulnerable sectors.