VICE-President Maria Leonor G. Robredo said it is not the position of the Liberal Party to overthrow President Rodrigo R. Duterte.
In an interview on the television show The Chiefs on Cignal TV’s One News on Sept. 20, Ms. Robredo said it is “not a party position” to ask the President to resign or to oust him.
“You know, personally, I don’t think the President will resign… I’m not very sure if some members of the party have expressed a call for resignation; but if at all one or some of them did, it’s not a party position. I don’t think the President will resign, so we’re not calling for that,” she said.
She also stressed that Mr. Duterte’s accusation that there is a collective effort from the Liberal Party, Senator Antonio F. Trillanes IV’s Magdalo group, and the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) to destabilize his administration is “baseless.”
“You know, the accusation of the President is completely baseless. He was telling us — and that’s what alarms us, really — he was telling us that the information was coming from conversations which were forwarded to him by a foreign government friendly to the country. That is alarming and that is against the provisions of the Constitution. It is alarming in the sense that if it’s true, is the President agreeing to interference by a foreign government? That is violation of our rights to privacy,” Ms. Robredo said.
She added: “There was no ousting, trying to oust the President. There was no talk of a unified move to destabilize the government. Because if there was, I would not be a part of it.”
What matters to the opposition party now, according to Ms. Robredo, is the upcoming 2019 senatorial elections. “And by leading the opposition, it was very clear to them that this was what I was ready for… I wanted to unify the voices, so that the administration would listen to this unified voice. And when we say unified voice, this is expression of dissent to policies of the government,” she explained.
She said there are active moves to oust her even in her hometown, Naga City, which Mr. Duterte once dubbed as a “hotbed of shabu (crystal meth).”
“Some of the President’s men have been trying to… find ways to discredit me. I don’t know if it’s part of the plan to… you know… just like what they did to Senator (Leila M.) De Lima and (former) chief justice (Maria Lourdes P.A.) Sereno and Senator Trillanes. You know, the manner by which they did these things to Senator Trillanes would be a confirmation that they… would go at great lengths just to… to silence the critics or discredit the opposition,” she said.
Ms. Robredo said as well that she still trusts the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) proceedings on the electoral protest filed against her by former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos. But she noted that losing the vice presidency “is always a possibility.”
“With the way it has decided on several important cases, we know that the reality is [that] it’s always a possibility. But when I say that we’re not giving up on it, it’s because… we have our Constitution. And we took our oath to defend our Constitution. The judiciary — the Supreme Court, particularly — has the duty to interpret the Constitution,” she said.
And when that happens, Ms. Robredo said, “that will be the time to say wala na talagang pag-asa iyong (that there is no glimmer of hope in the) Supreme Court.”
“And that will be an entirely different matter. But it will be irresponsible for me to say those things at this point, when the processes are still unfolding. There are things we can accept and there are things we can’t,” she added.
At the same time, Ms. Robredo also admitted that the economic problems the country is facing nowadays strengthen the opposition. “In a way, it is. But it’s not welcome — you know, we’re affected by it… You know, you always wish to be united, you always wish to be stronger as a coalition, but not at the expense of the plight of our people,” she said. — Arjay L. Balinbin