Robredo: I won't compromise on human rights under a Duterte presidency

NAGA CITY, Philippines – If she wins as Vice President under the presidency of poll frontrunner Rodrigo Duterte, Camarines Sur Representative Leni Robredo said she won't compromise when it comes to issues of human rights.

Robredo, who was a volunteer labor and human rights lawyer before entering politics, made this statement when asked how she would be able to work under the iron-fisted leadership style of the Davao mayor.

"Malaking challenge 'yun. Hindi ako magiging flexible kahit mas angat siya pagdating sa kapangyarihan," Robredo said in a chance interview with reporters on Monday, May 9, at the Eternal Gardens in Naga City.

(It will be a big challenge. I won't be flexible even if he has more power.)

Robredo, who is leading the vice presidential race with rival Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr, visited the tomb of her late husband Jesse before casting her ballot.

She also visited the archbishop's palace, and on Sunday, May 8, attended mass at the Carmelite monastery fresh from a 12-hour bus trip from Manila.

Both Duterte and Robredo have a chance of winning the polls, with pre-election surveys in their favor. But the vice presidential race might also turn in favor of Marcos, who is banking on the strength of the solid north vote.

Asked how she will adjust under a Duterte presidency, Robredo acknowledged that a vice president's role is to be supportive of the chief executive.

But, she added, there are some cases where she will not be willing to compromise, including the killing of criminals that Duterte has publicly espoused.

"Tingin ko ang Vice President as a general rule, dapat maging supportive sa president kahit magkaibang partido, pero may mga di pwedeng i-compromise. Isa yun. Hopefully pag nagkataon, hopefully ako ang magpapapalit ng pananaw," she said.

(I think the Vice President, as a general rule, must be supportive of the president even if they come from different parties, but there are thing you can't compromise on. [Human rights] is one of them. Hopefully, if ever, I will change his viewpoint.)

Robredo added, "Ako mangungunang mag-oppose sa kanya. Realistic naman ako, the Vice President has very limited powers pero ako magiging very vocal, lahat ng kaya kong gawin given my limitations."

(I will be the first to oppose him. I'm realistic; the vice president has very limited powers but I will be very vocal, do everything I can given my limitations.) –