MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo clarified she is not a member of #TindigPilipinas, the new coalition of opposition politicians and groups formed to stand up against the "abusive" polices of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Robredo was asked by reporters on Thursday, September 28, to clarify her affiliation with the group.
She, along with key leaders of the Liberal Party (LP) like former president Benigno Aquino III, attended the "Mass for justice" at the University of the Philippines during the 45th anniversary of the Martial Law declaration last September 21.
Members of #TindigPilipinas were also at the Mass, including LP members in the Senate minority and House independent minority blocks.
Robredo said the UP Mass was the only event she attended where #TindigPilipinas members were also present.
"Hindi ako kabahagi sa #TindigPilipinas. Naimbita ako, kasama iyong iba pang kasama sa laban dati sa Martial Law. Mahalaga iyong misang iyon para sa akin kasi iyon iyong paggunita noong mahabang panahon ng pakikipaglaban," said the Vice President, a staunch critic of the abuses under Martial Law.
(I'm not part of #TindigPilipinas. I was invited to the event, along with others who fought Martial Law. That's important for me because the event was a remembrance of the long period we fought against the dictatorship.)
Robredo believes the formation of groups like #TindigPilipinas should be "organic" and must primarily be spearheaded by ordinary citizens, not politicians.
"Kasi oras na makialam iyong pulitiko sa ganiyan, parating mababahiran ng pagduda kung ano iyong intensyon ng [grupo]. Parang nawawala sa tunay na issue iyong pag-uusapan, kasi iyong pag-uusapan na ano iyong interes ng publiko kung bakit sumali," said Robredo.
(Because once a politician interferes, people will doubt the intention of the group. The focus will switch from the issues that must be talked about to what are the interests of the politicians who joined the group.)
"Kaming mga pulitiko, makakasama sa movement na ganito, dahil parating may pagduda sa intensyon namin," she added.
(Politicians like me can join movements like this, but people will always doubt our intentions for doing so.)
While politicians are part of #TindigPilipinas, the group is mostly composed of organizations. Several of these organizations, however, are allied with LP.
Robredo is a critic of a number of Duterte's policies and decisions, including the bloody war on drugs and giving a hero's burial to the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
The Vice President had resigned as housing czar last year after the President barred her from attending Cabinet meetings.
Her advisers and allies explained she cannot completely disengage herself from the Duterte administration yet because she needs access to the executive branch to advance her pro-poor agenda. – Rappler.com