Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo seems to be not thinking twice about being an opposition leader in spite of a seven-point drop in her trust rating.
Robredo made the apparent resolve on Thursday when she also called on the Office of the President to respect her office in the aftermath of the Palace’s move of disinviting her to the annual reception for the diplomatic corps, vin d’honneur, after initially sending her an invitation last December 28.
The invitation, according to Robredo’s spokesperson Georgina Hernandez, was recalled on January 4.
“Popularity is only secondary. I prefer to look at the numbers as a basis of what am I doing right or wrong. My opposition against extra-judicial killings, death penalty, is worth a gamble rather than just keeping quiet because I don’t want my popularity to suffer,” Robredo told reporters during a visit to Tondo’s Project Pearls Activity Center, Helping Land Community, an organization that feeds malnourished children.
From 65 percent in September 2016, Robredo’s trust rating in a Pulse Asia survey stood at 58 percent in December 2016 or after she resigned from her post as the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council chief and after President Rodrigo Duterte banned her from attending Cabinet meetings.
“I don’t see the [survey numbers]holding me back [from opposing some policies of the Duterte administration]. My opposition is based on what I believe in because as a public official, you need to do work that is not popular but still, it is something that you need to do,” Robredo, a lawyer, argued.
President Duterte’s trust rating tops the field at 83 percent.
“We know that the President is very popular and that anything that I say contrary to his views would cost me my popularity. But it doesn’t mean that I won’t express my opposing views anymore because it is my obligation to say my sentiments on public interest issues whether the President is in favor of it or otherwise,” Robredo said.
The Vice President admitted that she was offended by the last-minute cancelation of her vin d’honneur invitation because it was outrightly disrespectful.
“It’s not a big deal if I was invited or not. What is distasteful is the way it was done. Kasi kung galit sa akin, galit sa akin. Pero sana bigyan naman nang kaunting respeto ang opisina [If they are mad at me, then so be it. But they should give the Office of the Vice President a little respect],” Robredo said.
“It’s okay if I am not invited because it is they [in the Palace]who determines who should be there or not. My point is not about the invitation, but the manner it was done. Para sabihing binabawi ang imbitasyon dahil wala ng upuan parang nakakatawa [To say that the invitation is being recalled because there are no seats available is just laughable],” she added.
Duterte has accused Robredo of joining street protests calling for his ouster.
During the President’s first five months in office, the Vice President supposedly has never joined a street protest and there also supposedly has never been a street protest calling for Duterte’s ouster.