VICE PRESIDENT Maria Leonor “Leni” G. Robredo on Sunday condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, saying countries have the moral obligation to stand against foreign aggression.

“I condemn the violence that has been inflicted upon the people of Ukraine, the violation of its sovereignty and the threat that now hangs above all the innocent lives in the region,” Ms. Robredo, the opposition candidate for president in the May 9 elections, said in a statement. 

She also praised the Philippine government’s stance supporting the international community in condemning the invasion of Ukraine.

The Philippines has voted in favor of a United Nations resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Last week, President Rodrigo R. Duterte held a meeting with Cabinet and security officials to discuss the socio-economic implications of the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

The vice president said countries should stand against bullying and unprovoked aggression “especially given the reports of civilians and residential areas deliberately targeted in the course of this invasion.”

The Philippine opposition leader also acknowledged the Ukrainian people’s efforts to defend freedom and a rights-based order. 

Ms. Robredo’s main rival, the late dictator’s son Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr., has flip-flopped on his stance on the issue, initially saying that the Philippines should not take a stand on the conflict.

In a televised debate held on Feb. 27, three other presidential contenders — former Cabinet Secretary Ernesto C. Abella, Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko” M. Domagoso, and businessman Faisal Mangondato agreed — with Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana’s proposal that the government should remain neutral since the European issue “did not have anything to do” with the Philippines. 

Senator Panfilo M. Lacson, on the other hand, said in the debate that the country has an obligation to condemn a foreign aggressor and renounce war as a member of the United Nations. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza