Robredo: Supporting Duterte also means giving ‘other perspectives’

Bea Cupin

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Robredo: Supporting Duterte also means giving ‘other perspectives’
The vice president-elect also cites 'the need for constant vigilance and circumspection' as she points out that Duterte's statements and actions are 'taken as an indicator of official policy'

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Vice President-elect Leni Robredo reiterated her promise to support incoming president Rodrigo Duterte on Friday, June 3, while emphasizing that support also means giving “other perspectives.”

“Supporting him means doing what we can to help him serve our people, and our nation, the best that he can. This includes providing, with the other members of his team, other perspectives on various issues to broaden his view, and afford him the breadth of vision that is so essential to the leader of our nation,” said Robredo in a text message to Rappler.

Duterte has been in the middle of a storm of controversy over statements made in a series of press conferences.

While talking to media in Davao City this week, Duterte, when asked about media killings, pointed out that some slain journalists deserved to die because they were corrupt.

The Davao City mayor has also been criticized for whistling at a reporter during a press conference. He has insisted that catcalling – or whistling at a woman – is not necessarily sexual. Davao City has existing laws against sexual harassment, including whistling at women.

“The Philippines has long played a leading role in the promotion of human rights and the advancement of gender equality. I trust our country’s leaders will continue to uphold this honorable legacy in every word and deed,” added Robredo. 

Duterte and Robredo are both lawyers. Duterte was a prosecutor before he joined politics while Robredo focused on defending the poor. (READ: 4 lessons about Rodrigo Duterte, the boss)

Robredo, in the text message, emphasized that statements and actions are “taken as an indicator of official policy” because of the “power and prestige of the presidency.”

“Hence the need for constant vigilance and circumspection, to avoid raising any unnecessary concern, particularly over issues as sensitive as the murder of journalists and the treatment of women in our society,” the vice president-elect added.

Duterte and Robredo ran under different banners during the 2016 campaign – the president was PDP-Laban’s standard-bearer while Robredo is a member of the Liberal Party. 

Even before she was officially declared the winner of the vice presidential race, Robredo had vowed to support whoever wins the presidency.

“I have always taken the position that we should give our full support to our newly-elected President. When we help him to succeed, we are helping our nation, and ourselves, succeed,” said Robredo on Friday. 

Robredo, whose campaign platforms include female empowerment and rural development, said she is “reassured” of Duterte’s promise to uphold the rule of law and his track record of promoting women’s rights – despite his recent statements.

“I hope that these commitments will be more clearly reflected in his public pronouncements,” said Robredo.

Duterte and Robredo are set to take their oaths of office on June 30. 

Despite declarations of her support for the incoming president, Robredo is unlikely to have a spot in the new administration. Under the constitution, the Vice President has no specific role in governance.

While Duterte can give Robredo a Cabinet post, he is not keen on doing so, earlier saying that he has yet to get to know Robredo and he does not want to offend his friend, defeated vice presidential candidate Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (READ: With or without Cabinet post, I’ll fulfill duty as VP – Robredo–

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.