MANILA, Philippines – Vice President-elect Leni Robredo on Sunday, June 26, urged Filipinos to set aside their political differences and unite behind the new Philippine leadership that would assume office on June 30.
Robredo made the call at the National Day Celebration for the Filipino community in Tokyo, Japan, where she was invited by outgoing Philippine Ambassador Manuel Lopez.
She said in her speech at the Philippine embassy event – also a farewell party for Lopez, an appointee of President Benigno Aquino III, and the ambassador's wife, Maria Teresa Lopez – that with the elections over, Filipinos again have to “aspire as a people, as a nation.”
“Dahil ho kailangan tayong mag-aspire ulit bilang isang bansa, sana kung ano ang differences na pinagdaanan noong nakaraang eleksyon, handa tayong isantabi iyon para suportahan iyong ating susunod na magiging Pangulo; para suportahan iyong susunod na administrasyon,” she said.
(Because we have to again aspire as a nation, I hope that you can set aside whatever differences you had in the last elections to support the next President; to support the next administration.)
“Kasi po iyong success ng administrasyong ito, mai-tatranslate iyon sa success ng buong bansa. Sana kung anuman ang pangit na pinagdaanan noong eleksyon, sana handa tayong tanggapin at pakinggan iyong boses ng ating mga kababayan, at boses ninyo rin,” Robredo added.
(The success of this administration will translate to the success of the entire nation. Hopefully, regardless of any unpleasant experience during the past elections, we are ready to accept and listen to the voice of our countrymen, which is also your voice.)
Robredo made the call as she prepares for a separate inauguration from President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, following the wishes of the latter.
Unlike her predecessors, the Vice President-elect is not expected to get a Cabinet position under the incoming administration. Duterte had earlier said that they are on opposite sides of the political fence, and that he didn't want to hurt his friend, Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr, who lost to Robredo by a hairline.
Robredo said in an interview that she has not spoken with Duterte, but her camp has already made an appointment with him.
Photo from Leni Robredo Media Bureau
Since the event was also a thanksgiving ceremony for volunteers at the Philippine Festival 2016 in Tokyo, Robredo likened national unity to a cultural festival that highlights the best of what the Philippines has to offer through presentations of its various regions. The end product is boosting national pride.
“Handa kayong kalimutan iyong pagkakaiba ng lahat at pagtulung-tulungan, pagpaguran at pagsakripisyuhan para maging successful ang okasyon (You are prepared to foget your differences and instead you focus on working together and making sacrifices to ensure the success of the event),” Robredo said.
The Vice President-elect told Filipinos in Tokyo that her participation in the embassy event was "last-minute." She said she was in Japan for a two-day private visit to Osaka, and had to return to Manila the following day.
Robredo said she will celebrate her 29th wedding anniversary with her daughters on Monday, June 27, just as they had done since former interior secretary Jesse Robredo died in 2012 . – Rappler.com
Editor’s note: In an earlier version of this story, we wrote that Vice President-elect Leni Robredo is accompanied by her daughters in this trip. This has since been corrected.