This government needs an opposition.
This, in essence, was what the spokesman of President Rodrigo Duterte said when Secretary Harry Roque was asked to react to Vice President Leni Robredo’s statement that she is now ready to lead and unite voices from the opposition.
“(T)alagang kinakailangan ang oposisyon sa ating gobyerno. Eh s’ya naman talaga ang pinakamataas na halal na miyembro ng oposisyon. So tama lang po ‘yon na s’ya’y tumayong lider ng oposisyon [An opposition is needed in our government. She’s really the highest elected leader from the opposition. So it’s just right for her to stand as the opposition’s leader],” Roque told dzRH’s Henry Uri on Wednesday, July 11, referring to Robredo.
The Vice President recently said that “there are groups opposing the same issues but since they don’t coordinate with one another, the voices are not united.”
“That’s the role that I want to take: to make sure that the voices will become one so they will listen to more. I want to ensure that the message they convey will be more understood,” said Robredo.
Roque said the Vice President’s statement was a sign that she no longer wanted to take another government post other than being the country’s second-highest leader, unlike before, when Robredo was still eager to cooperate with the administration.
“May mga panahon na naghahangad s’ya na maging kabahagi ng Gabinete. So minsan nakakagulo, hindi mo maintindihan kung gusto n’yang maging kasapi ng administrasyon o oposisyon. Pero itong huli n’yang deklarasyon, siguro eh ito’y pahiwatig na hindi na s’ya tatanggap ng posisyon sa ating gobyerno other than ‘yong kanyang pagiging vice president,” said Duterte’s spokesperson.
In July 2016, Robredo accepted Duterte’s offer to her to become chairperson of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council. But she quit her post in December of the same year after receiving five text message from Cabinet Secretary Leoncio “Jun” Evasco, Jr. instructing her to stop attending all Cabinet meetings.