VICE President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo on Friday denied the accusation of President Rodrigo Duterte that she had joined rallies that called for his ouster.
“I am not aware of, much less am I involved in, any effort to ‘oust’ the President,” she said in a statement.
“The President and I both took an oath to uphold the Constitution and I take this very seriously.”
The Vice President was reacting to the claim of Duterte in a television interview on Thursday that she was banned from Cabinet meetings for participating in rallies against him.
Robredo resigned as housing secretary early this month, citing an instruction from a Malacañang official barring her from attending Cabinet meetings.
She was among the opposition figures who criticized the internment of former president Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (heroes’ cemetery).
Although Robredo was not present in the anti-Marcos burial rallies, she attended the rites honoring 19 “new heroes and martyrs of Martial Law” at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani in Quezon City on November 30, which coincided with a rally at the People Power Monument. Fellow members of the Liberal Party were present.
Robredo has been vocal in denouncing extrajudicial killings, women’s rights violations, the proposed restoration of the death penalty and the retreat from the country’s West Philippine Sea claims, among others.
“Criticism is not conspiracy, and the administration is well advised to stop seeing ‘plots’ behind every unflattering news report, irate citizens’ assembly, or angry Facebook post,” she said.
She added: “It is the right of every citizen in our democracy to express her opinion, and this includes those critical of or in opposition to an incumbent government. This principle is a cornerstone of our free Republic.”