Photo from the Office of the Vice President
Is the ice beginning to thaw for President Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo?
It seems that frequent interaction with the Vice President has had an effect on the firebrand Duterte who, during his speech at the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) graduation, said he has enjoyed seeing her at consecutive events.
"This is the 3rd time that I have greeted you, my lady," said Duterte at the start of his speech on Wednesday, March 21.
Robredo, also a guest at the PNPA graduation, was sitting on stage behind him, as she had done so in the previous ceremonies the two attended recently.
"'Yung una sa PMA (Philippine Military Academy) in Baguio, then Fort Bonifacio kahapon, at dito ngayon. Sana po may graduation pang iba para magkita pa rin tayo. I love to see my Vice President," said Duterte.
(The first was at the PMA in Baguio, then Fort Bonifacio yesterday, and now, here. I hope there are more graduations so we can see each other. I love to see my Vice President.)
Later on in the same speech, Duterte spoke of how Robredo would make a "beautiful president" if she were to win the position one day.
"If the Vice President wins then you'll have a beautiful and young president of this country," he said.
After complaining about the young retirement age for the military and police, Duterte also cryptically said, "Kaya siguro (Maybe in) the next legislation we will ask the Vice President to do her part. Paminsan-minsan lang naman tayo (This only happens once in a while)."
The Palace cited "irreconcilable differences" between the top two officials of the land. Duterte later on admitted that it was Robredo's vocal opposition to the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani that was the last straw.
Duterte has spoken about Robredo in ways perceived as patronizing by feminist groups. He's also been criticized for objectifying women.
In 2016, the President teased her about her "short skirt" as they were attending the commemoration of the 3rd anniversary of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). The following day, Robredo said "tasteless remarks and inappropriate advances against women should have no place in our society." – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.