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'Quick, simple' inauguration for Robredo in Quezon City

MANILA, Philippines – There will barely be any fanfare when Leni Robredo officially takes her oath as the country's 14th vice president on June 30.

An hour-long program, which will begin at 9 am, includes a flag ceremony with representatives from different sectors of society, the singing of the national anthem by the Payatas Children's Choir, the oath-taking proper, and a short message from Robredo.

Robredo will take her oath before two barangay (village) captains at the Quezon City Reception House, the new home of the Office of the Vice President (OVP).

"Minabuti nating sundan ang ginawa ni President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, na nagpasyang gawin ang kanyang inagurasyon sa Malacañang kung saan siya mag-oopisina," said Robredo's chief-of-staff, Boyet Dy, in a briefing with media on Thursday, June 23.

(We decided to follow President-elect Rodrigo Duterte's lead. He decided to conduct his inauguration in Malacañang where he will hold office.)

"Simple lang ang magiging seremonya, ngunit nananatiling angkop sa okasyon," added Dy, who also leads Robredo's transition team.

(It will be a simple ceremony that will be fit for the occasion.)

A separate inauguration ceremony for an incoming vice president is rare in the Philippines. Traditionally, the president and vice president have a joint inauguration even if they come from different – and sometimes, opposing – political parties.

Robredo ran under the ruling Liberal Party (LP) while Duterte was standard-bearer of PDP-Laban.

The Duterte camp earlier explained that a joint ceremony would be difficult to pull off because of limited space at Malacañang Palace's Rizal Hall.

Only 300 guests at most will be invited to Robredo's own inauguration, including sectoral representatives.

"Tinitiyak naming magkakaroon ng kinatawan ang bawat sektor sa inagurasyon. Lalo na mula sa mga nasa laylayan ng lipunan, na matagal na pinagsilbihan ni VP Leni bilang abugado ng mahihirap at higit pa niyang pagsusumikapang pagsilbihan bilang pangalawang pangulo, sa tulong ng iba't ibang katuwang," said Dy.

(We'll make sure each sector will be represented in the inauguration. Especially sectors that come from the fringes of society, those that Vice President Leni served as a lawyer for the poor. They are the same sectors she'll work hard for now that she's the vice president.)

In the afternoon, Robredo will grace a thanksgiving party with supporters at the Quezon Memorial Circle.

Duterte-Robredo meeting?

One and a half months after the May 9 elections, Duterte and Robredo have yet to meet in person. Dy said there are still no "formal" talks to set a meeting between the two.

"Pero kami po sa kampo at si VP-elect Robredo ay bukas naman po sa mga pag-uusap na maaaring makatulong at kailangang gawin para po magawa ang mga kailangang gawin kapag upo sa puwesto," he said.

(We in the Robredo camp are open to a dialogue that would help clarify what things need to be done once they assume office.)

According to sources from the LP, Robredo has been trying to broker a possible meeting with the outgoing Davao City mayor through some incoming Cabinet secretaries who also happen to be acquainted with Robredo.

But those talks have yet to translate into a final schedule for the Duterte and Robredo meeting.

The vice president has no specific role in governance under the Philippine Constitution. Traditionally vice presidents have been given concurrent Cabinet posts.

Duterte has temporarily shelved the idea of giving Robredo a Cabinet post, explaining that he does not know her personally yet. –