VP Leni Robredo promises louder opposition to death penalty, extrajudicial killings

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File photo from Vice President Leni Robredo's inauguration.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Now that she is out of the Cabinet, Vice President Leni Robredo announced Monday that she will be more vocal in her criticism against certain policies.

When asked if she would embrace the leadership of the opposition, Robredo responded, "Parati pa rin (akong) kokontra... sa mga bagay na hindi ko pinapaniwalaan. If being an opposition leader entails that, then magiging opposition leader ako."

"Ako, mag-oppose ako sa lahat ng mga polisiya with... mas malaking boses," she added.

[Translation: I will continue to fight against the things I do not believe in. If being an opposition leader entails that, then I will be an opposition leader. I will oppose all these policies... with a louder voice.]

Among the policies that she believes are "detrimental to the Filipino people" are the death penalty, lowering the age of criminal liability, extrajudicial killings, and the maltreatment of women.

However, Robredo was quick to add that she remains supportive of government policies that are for the public good.

"Ang mga magagandang bagay na sinasang-ayunan natin still deserve support. Kahit pa ganito yung treatment sa akin, palagay ko hindi na ito tungkol sa akin," Robredo added.

"Meron ako mandato, and palagay ko yung responsibility na iyon ay kailangan mag-transcend sa ano pang pulitika, kahit ano pang hindi pakikipagintidihan sa paniniwala."

[Translation: But the good things that we agree with still deserve support. Even if this is how they treat me, it's not about me anymore. I have a mandate, and that responsibility must transcend politics and a clashing of beliefs.]

 

She told CNN Philippines that members of the Liberal Party have yet to meet to discuss their next course of action.

Robredo announced her resignation from the Cabinet on Sunday after receiving an order from Cabinet Secretary Jun Evasco "to desist from attending all Cabinet meetings."

Related: VP Leni Robredo resigns as Housing Secretary

"Break-up text"

Robredo added on Monday that she had first received a notice barring her from the meeting via a phone call to her staff last week, but it had been preceded by a written invitation to attend the Cabinet meeting.

When she asked if a letter might also be prepared to formalize her requested absence, she had supposedly been told that such a letter was "out of the question."

This was followed by Evasco's text message. Robredo said she had tried to confirm the message with Special Assistant to the President Bong Go because she had no direct line to the president. She received no reply.

Feeling that she was being "eased out" of the Cabinet, Robredo said she was confused at President Rodrigo Duterte's claim to accept her resignation "with a heavy heart."

Related: Duterte accepts Robredo's resignation 'with a heavy heart'

Robredo, who was also appointed via a phone call, said that their differences in opinion have been clear since the beginning.

Recalling Duterte's announcements of not assigning her a cabinet post and refusing a joint inauguration, Robredo said "nothing surprises me anymore."

"But the feeling about this is, sayang," Robredo told CNN Philippines Correspondent Ruth Cabal. "Ang daming problema ng housing, na sana hindi mabiktima ang mga tao ng ilingan ng pulitika."

[Translation: But the feeling about it is it's a waste. There are so many problems in housing, and people need not have been victimized by the leanings of politicking.]

She added that this had also been preceded by obstacles that hindered the effective movement of projects in housing.

"The support that was required was not given in its entirety," Robredo said.

Among the obstacles she listed was the slashing of the housing budget to half, vacancies in five appointee positions, and a pending executive order that "would have unlocked several choke points."

Presidential spokespersons Ernesto Abella and Martin Andanar have chalked up the directive to "irreconcilable differences," but Robredo believes something suspicious is afoot.

Protect the vice presidency

Robredo hinted that the disposition towards her might be a result of Duterte openly favoring Bongbong Marcos, who is also making a claim to the vice presidency.

She noted that he had endorsed Marcos as the next vice president during his trip to China.

Robredo also said that they had received a message on Saturday and tweets that were bidding her goodbye. She reiterated a call for vigilance amid "an apparent campaign to discredit me."

"Alam naman natin marami siyang na-hire na talagang sa social media na talagang sinisiraan ako," Robredo said. "Lahat yata ng kuwento, nasabi na… naging buntis ako, ako yung nagfufund ng mga rallies, lahat hindi totoo, but these are all attempts to discredit me.

[Translation: We all know that there are hired people on social media out to destroy me. They've come up with all kinds of stories... I got pregnant, I fund the rallies, all of which is not true, but these are all attempts to discredit me.]

 

 

When asked about Marcos' pending motion for a vice presidential recount, Robredo said she is not allowed to discuss the case, but she is wishing "na mapagdesisyunan yung kaso [the case will be decided] in the way that it should be decided."

"Nakita naman natin in the past days na yung akala natin yung mga taong walang pakialam talagang pinapaalam yung pagkasuklam sa ganitong klaseng sistema," Robredo added, likely referring to the mobilizations and student protests against the Marcos burial in Libingan ng mga Bayani.

(Translation: We saw how in the past days, those we thought were people who did not care really expressed their loathing of this kind of system.)

However, she said that the recent claims that she had not accomplished much during her short term were thankfully refuted at once by the Cabinet.

Robredo said that her resignation had nothing to do with the achievements of the agency. She has since summarized her accomplishments for the five months in housing online.

Look: VP Leni Robredo's accomplishments as HUDCC Chair

Work continues

Robredo, however, maintained that the work will go on despite the resignation.

Evasco has since been appointed to replace her as chairperson of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) "on top of other duties," according to Andanar.

Robredo said she hopes Evasco would be continuous in the initiatives that they began.

"We'll go full blast still with Angat Buhay programs, (but now) we will add housing… as an advocacy," Robredo said. "Hindi ko kayang iwanan ang [I cannot leave] housing completely."

The Angat Buhay flagship program of the vice president's office is a five-point framework against poverty that targets nutrition and food security, universal healthcare, education, rural development, and women empowerment.

Robredo added that she hopes Evasco would still be open to her suggestions even as she is no longer chair.

CNN Philippines Senior Correspondent Ruth Cabal contributed to this report.