Duterte wants 'beautiful' Leni Robredo as ‘assistant president’

LIPA CITY, Philippines –  Is Rody Duterte a tad bit smitten with Leni Robredo?

During an interview with media on Thursday, April 14, the presidential candidate from Davao City admitted he admires the good looks of the Liberal Party's vice-presidential bet.

Reporters asked him to clarify what he meant when he said in a previous interview he would make Robredo his “assistant president.”

Kung hindi siya manalo, sabi ko, si Leni Robredo kung gusto lang niya, assistant president,” he said. (If she doesn’t win, I said, maybe Leni Robredo would want to be assistant president.)

The position would be similar to the position of deputy mayors which he created as Davao City mayor to represent ethnic groups.

“I created the deputy mayors' office for the Tausug, Maranaw, Iranon, lahat (all),” he said.

Asked why he picked Robredo, Duterte suddenly became bashful.

Ayaw ko sabihin, nahihiya ako (I don’t want to say, I’m shy),” he initially said.

Pressed by media, he then admitted, “Maganda siya. Maganda talaga siya. Basta maganda siya.

But he got serious and addressed his next words to Robredo herself.

“I’m sorry Leni, I hope, do not be offended, I am just shooting the breeze with these guys. Interesado sila kasi they are too fixated with you and me. So sabi ko wala naman akong maibigay na posisyon, eh di sabi ko na lang, assistant president. Kung okay sa ‘yo, okay man sa akin,” he said. (So I said, since I have no position to give, I just said, "assistant president". If it’s okay with you, it’s okay with me.)

During the vice-presidential debate, when all candidates were asked what cabinet position they prefer, Robredo said she wanted to be put in charge of streamlining the government’s poverty programs.

Duterte emerged as the top presidential candidate in two pre-election surveys. Robredo, meanwhile, is tied with Senator Francis “Chiz" Escudero for second place in the vice-presidential race. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

image