While President-elect Rodrigo Duterte early on announced that he will not be attending his proclamation, Vice President-elect Maria Leonor “Leni” Gerona Robredo arrived at the Batasang Pambansa on Monday with her daughters for her proclamation.
The Congress, sitting as the National Board of Canvassers proclaimed Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Camarines Sur Representative LeniRobredo as the 16thPresident and the Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines.
Robredo received 14, 418, 817 votes which secured her the second highest seat in the country against her closest rival, Bongbong Marcos with a 263, 473 vote difference.
However, Robredo’s role in the incoming administration has yet to be decided by the President-elect who claimed that giving Robredo a cabinet position has ‘never crossed his mind’.
In a press conference held last Tuesday night, May 31, the President-elect admitted that the reason why he had not offered a Cabinet position for Robredo was because he does not want to hurt the feelings of the Vice Presidential candidate and close friend, Bongbong Marcos.
Duterte claimed that Marcos is his friend and that choosing not to appoint Robredo in any position was of a political reality.
He also added that “there is no compelling reason for me to accommodate the VP. I am sorry. Leni must understand that she belongs to the opposite side,” pertaining to Robredo’s affiliation with the current administration and the Liberal Party.
Duterte further reasoned that his father was a cabinet member of the late President Ferdinand Marcos and that while he won the election in the Ilocos region, he fared poorly in the Bicol region which is the home base of the VP-elect Robredo.
While the role of the Vice President is to be present in case that the President must be rendered indisposed, Constitutional provisions affirm that the VP may be granted a cabinet position which requires no further affirmation. While it is not mandatory, it serves to provide the VP with a duty and responsibility instead of remaining as an intended substitute for the President.
In response to Duterte’s announcement, Robredo recognized the need of the President to appoint cabinet members based on his knowledge and trust in the person and reiterate that she will perform her duties with or without a cabinet position. (Kathleen Vicho)