THE administration of President Rodrigo Duterte could be in for rough sailing following the departure of Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo from the Cabinet, which could even impact the President’s ratings, a political analyst said.
Ramon Casiple, executive director of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform, said Robredo’s resignation could see the rise of a real opposition with the vice president as the leader.
“They (opposition) will not let him rule peacefully,” Casiple said.
The opposition, he said, could block the appointment of new Supreme Court justices, the vice presidential election protest of former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., as well as the federalism measure in Congress.
“All these issues are expected to be questioned. There will be a battle,” he added.
Robredo, however, is not a politician and not the kind of person who would “bring the fight down to the ground.”
“Personally I find the actions of the President wrong, because it is better to have a modus vivendi or a practical arrangement with people on the other side of the fence,” he added.
Robredo on Monday resigned as chairwoman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC).
The vice president decided to vacate her post after receiving a text message from Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr. that the President did not want her to attend Cabinet meetings anymore.
Casiple warned that the President’s action could hit his ratings considering that more than 14 million people voted for Robredo in May.
“There is a big possibility that those who voted for Robredo will support her and it would have a real impact on the President’s rating,” he added.
Casiple said he did not see Robredo’s resignation having an impact on the economy.
“This is a political issue, and the HUDCC is not really part of any economic decision,” he said in a telephone interview.
Despite the political noise, Antony Chan, president of the Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Inc., said entrepreneurs remained confident with the Duterte administration’s economic policy.
“We have a federation of Hong Kong businesses, composed of 41 associations in Asia, Europe and North America. We tell businessmen in other places that it’s the time to invest in the Philippines,” Chan said.
Julian Payne, national president of the Canadian Chambers Commerce of the Philippines, echoed the positive outlook.
“Generally, we as Canadian chamber and Canadian business look upon [Duterte’s] 10-point economic promise as very friendly to foreign investment,” he said. “We have seen no Canadian companies indicating concern of pulling out.”