Updated 18:28 PM PHT Wed, January 4, 2017
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The Liberal Party (LP) is far from what it was during the time of former President Benigno Aquino III — and the party's highest ranking official in government, Vice President Leni Robredo, admitted it.
Asked about reports that her party is behind an alleged plan to oust President Rodrigo Duterte, Robredo said she thinks the LP is not that strong — and doubts that they have the capacity to mobilize the President's ouster.
"Tingin ko halata naman na hindi malakas iyong Liberal Party, ilan na lang ba kami ngayon," Robredo said. "Siguro malakas iyong partido noong Pangulo pa si Pangulong Aquino pero ngayon kaunti na lang."
[Translation: I think it's obvious that the Liberal Party is not strong since there's only a few of us left. Maybe before, the party was strong, during the time of President Aquino, but now there's just a handful of us.]
Robredo even referred to the remaining group as "Volkswagen" party, saying most of LP members had already jumped ship to President Duterte's political party, PDP-Laban.
She added, remaining LP members have yet to discuss the direction they will take in the future.
"Nandoon pa lang kami sa stage na mag-uusap ulit, pag-uusapan kung anong direksyon patutunguhan ang partido pero hindi pa nag-uusap bilang partido, hindi ako naniniwala na malakas na ganoon." [We're still in the stage of discussing what direction to pursue for the party but we haven't talked as a party yet. I don't believe that we're that strong.]
Robredo confirms talking to Goldberg: 'Not about Duterte's ouster'
Robredo also admitted talking to former United States Ambassador Philip Goldberg twice.
The vice president also pointed out, they never discussed ouster of President Duterte- and said she thinks there's even no such plot.
"Ako, hindi ako naniniwala na mayroong ganoon. Unang una, nagkausap kami ni Ambassador Goldberg noong nasa isang event, pangalawa nag-courtesy call siya sa opisina," Robredo said. "Wala namang pinag-usapan tungkol kay Pangulo, iyong pinag-usapan namin ay iyong bilateral relations ng U.S. at ng Pilipinas."
[Translation: I don't believe there's such thing. I first spoke with Ambassador Goldberg in an event, and the second time was during a courtesy call at the office. We didn't even talk about the President, we discussed about the bilateral relations of U.S. and the Philippines.]
Robredo pivots on 'slow relief operations' statement
On Tuesday, the Vice President said government's relief operations were "slow"- but Robredo clarified that remark.
[Insert article: Robredo returns from US; Says relief ops 'slow']
She said this is what's being reported to her by the barangay captains as she visits communities gravely affected by typhoon Nina.
"Wala din ako sa lugar na sabihin iyong tama na sinasabi nila," Robredo said. "Pero iyong reklamo din kahapon iyong mga kapitan na kausap ko, medyo mabagal iyong napuntahan ko kahapon, iyong natanggap pa nila is iyong galing pa sa amin."
[Translation: I'm not in the position to say that what they're telling me is correct. But most village captains I talked to were complaining about slow relief operations, they have only received relief packs from us.]
Robredo also urged everyone to set aside politics.
She said improving coordination for the relief and rehabilitation of areas battered by typhoon Nina should be everyone's priority.
Robredo said, Typhoon Nina caught everyone off-guard - and nobody should be blamed for it.
The Vice President has been in hot seat as she faced criticism for being in the U.S. on vacation — while Typhoon Nina hammered her home province in Bicol.