By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
For the third time this week, the two highest government officials in the country, President Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo, got together, this time for the graduation ceremony of Batch 2018 of the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) Wednesday.
The reunion of the two top officials happened as they graced the Commencement Exercises of the PNPA’s Bachelor of Science on Public Safety (BSPS) “Maragtas” Class of 2018 in Silang, Cavite.
Duterte, in his speech, addressed Robredo, saying he hopes that there will be more graduation ceremonies to come so they can meet more often.
“Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo, this is the third time I have greeted you my Lady…Sana po may graduation pang iba para magkita pa rin tayo (I hope there will be more graduation ceremonies so we still can see each other). I love to see my Vice President,” Duterte said, drawing laughter from the crowd.
Duterte also said that the Philippines would have a beautiful president if Robredo decides to run for the post in the next presidential polls and wins.
“Matanda na kami. Ako, after three years aalis na ako (We are already getting old. After three years I will leave politics). I don’t know who would be the next president, but certainly, matanda na yan (they will be old as well). But if the Vice President wins, you will have a beautiful and a young president in this country,” Duterte said, referring to Robredo.
Duterte first reunited with Robredo this year during the commencement exercises of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Alab-Tala” Class of 2018 in Baguio City on Sunday. There, Duterte addressed Robredo at the beginning of his speech to the delight of the crowd.
“Magkaibigan man kami ni Ma’am (The Vice President and I are friends),” Duterte said Sunday.
However, Robredo said that she and the President were not able to talk after the PMA rites as Duterte had to hurry back to Manila.
On Tuesday, the country’s two highest officials shared the same stage again during the 121st founding anniversary of the Philippine Army in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.
Duterte’s series of reunions with Robredo also came after the Vice President expressed openness to return to Duterte’s Cabinet if a position would be offered to her. However, Robredo emphasized her right to dissent on national issues that may surface.
Malacañang said that Robredo cannot do that because she will be the alter ego of the President. The Palace also added that there is no Cabinet post for the Vice President.
“Umasa po siya, hindi po mangyayari ‘yon. Dahil hindi naman po ata siya bibigyan ng kahit anong pwesto ng Pangulo (Let her hope, but it will not happen. Because I don’t think the President will even giver her another Cabinet seat),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.
Robredo resigned from her Cabinet post last December, 2016 after she received a text message from Cabinet Secretary Jun Evasco, telling her to cease from attending Cabinet meetings.
She served as Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) chair for five months, the same position held by her predecessors — Vice Presidents Jejomar Binay and Noli de Castro.