Robredo: Women in gov't most vocal, pressed under Duterte admin

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 28) — Women in positions of leadership under President Rodrigo Duterte's administration are vocal — and they bear the consequences, Vice President Leni Robredo said.

"Kung napapansin natin sa society natin ngayon, yung mga kababaihan in leadership positions, sila yung mas vocal e. Kaya mga kababaihan din yung nalalagay sa alanganin," Robredo told CNN Philippines' The Source in an exclusive interview that aired Thursday.

[Translation: If we notice our society today, women in leadership positions are more vocal. That's why women are consistently put in a difficult position.]

Robredo, herself an opposition figure, is critical of some of Duterte's policies — most notably the bloody war on drugs.

She pointed out a pattern that puts women leaders in government under more scrutiny.

"Gaya ngayon, sino ba yung mga vocal, di ba? Si Senator Leila de Lima, Ombudsman (Conchita) Carpio Morales, si Chief Justice (Maria Lourdes) Sereno, mga very vocal about things kaya napapasok sa problema," said Robredo.

[Translation: Think about it, who's been vocal? Senator Leila De Lima, Ombudsman Carpio Morales, an Chief Justice Sereno, who have been vocal about things and who now have problems.]

De Lima ran under the Liberal Party ticket with Robredo, while Morales and Sereno were appointed by former President Benigno Aquino III.

De Lima, a staunch critic of Duterte, is under detention for drug charges at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center. The senator maintains her innocence, as her allies slam her arrest as an attempt to silence opposition.

Morales, meanwhile, was previously accused of being corrupt and biased by the President. She most recently butt heads with the President when her office defied a Malacanang order to suspend Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang as he looked into Duterte's alleged hidden wealth.

She is also related to the President, as her nephew Maneses Carpio is married to Duterte's eldest daughter, Davao Mayor Sara Duterte.

As for the Chief Justice, efforts to impeach Sereno are underway at the House of Representatives. The Chief Justice has gone on indefinite leave Thursday.

However, flak for critical women is not restricted to those in politics, Robredo added.

"Kahit mga kababaihan na wala sa leadership positions, mas vulnerable...'Yung expectations sa asawang babae, mas mataas sa expectations sa asawang lalaki. Society is more forgiving of men than of women," said Robredo.

[Even women who are not in leadership positions are more vulnerable... Expectations for wives are higher that expectations for husbands.]

Robredo added she and other critics spoke up not because of wanting to grab power, but out of concern.

"It's unfortunate because when you voice out your dissent, it's because you want certain things happening to change, or certain things happening to stop. It's not because we want to oust the President," said Robredo.

The Vice President has repeatedly denied allegations that she is seeking the highest post in the country.

READ: Robredo: I do not want to oust the President  

Duterte, who is known for his macho strongman image, has been criticized for statements that have been considered offensive to women.

He previously admitted to ogling at Robredo's legs during a Cabinet meeting, a remark which she considered "tasteless [and] inappropriate."

Robredo said the fight against inequality will continue, and women should be trained to speak up for their rights.

"We have achieved so much already in terms of trying to improve the status of women, but there is much to be desired," she said.