After ouster plot claim, Duterte and Robredo share PNPA stage
What impeachment and destabilization talks?
Hours after claiming she could be behind an alleged plot to oust him, President Rodrigo Duterte had a lengthy, seemingly cordial, and very public meeting with Vice President Leni Robredo at the graduation ceremony of Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) “Masidlak” Class of 2017 in Silang, Cavite, on Friday, March 24.
There were early indications of how the meeting between the two highest officials of the land would turn out. Media expected Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno to sit between the President and the Vice President – the names on the seats said as much – but there was a last-minute change in their seating arrangement, after Sueno switched seats with Robredo so she could sit beside Duterte.
Though not as warm towards each other as when the Vice President was still a Cabinet member, the two were seen shaking hands and engaging in casual conversation.
The two officials were last seen attending the same event during the Philippine Military Academy graduation rites in Baguio City on March 12, where they shook hands. There was a break in protocol then as Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana sat between them.
Both the President and Vice President are staples in the PNPA graduation, although Duterte and Robredo’s situation has been more awkward than their predecessors who. Duterte’s allies, including Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, have accused Robredo of masterminding the impeachment complaint filed against Duterte by Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano, even if the legislator himself has insisted that the Vice President has nothing to do with it.
Robredo, meanwhile, has steadily turned into one of the most vocal critics of alleged abuses committed by police in Duterte’s drug war. Alvarez has insisted that a video message Robredo tapped for screening on the sidelines of a United Nations meet can be the basis of filing an impeachment case against her.
The video allegedly put the Philippines in a bad light. Duterte’s allies and appointees wasted no time in defending Duterte while criticizing Robredo for supposedly lying. While Duterte has not ceased her attack on Robredo, he had also said there was no need to impeach her. (READ: Duterte on impeachment vs Robredo: 'Stop it')
The PNPA graduation was Duterte and Robredo’s first joint public appearance since the impeachment talks against both of them hogged news headlines.
Robredo chairs the once-ruling Liberal Party, which Duterte has also accused of plotting to oust him.
Unlike his most recent speeches, Duterte made no mention of Robredo or the supposed plot to oust him.
A huge chunk of his speech had been prepared. In the last minutes of his speech, however, Duterte went off-the-cuff, teasing police about their supposed propensity for indefetily while reminding police never to hit their wives. – Rappler.com
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