Vice President Leni Robredo said on Monday she called out President Duterte’s insults against her to set an example for women that they should stand up against misogyny.
Robredo pushed back against the narrowing political spaces for women in the Duterte administration.
Last week, Duterte spent the first 20 minutes of his weekly public address to berate the vice president for supposedly questioning his whereabouts during Typhoon Ulysses’ onslaught.
He was referring to hashtag #NasaanAngPangulo (Where is the president) that was trending on social media.
Robredo said she quickly answered back to Duterte as a way to send a message that women should not be disrespected. She responded to the President by calling him a misogynist.
“Kapag binastos mo ako lalaban ako kasi kailangan kong maging halimbawa, eh. Kailangan ko maging halimbawa sa ibang mga kababaihan na nababastos din (If you were rude to me I’ll fight back because I need to set an example. I have to set an example to other women who were also disrespected),” she said in a DZRH interview.
“Kung sa pambabastos hahayaan ko iyon, ano iyong mensaheng binibigay ko? Na okay lang iyon? Na okay lang iyon dahil lalaki kayo? Na okay lang iyon dahil Pangulo kayo? Hindi dapat ganoon (If I will allow to be disrespected, what is the message I’m giving? That it is okay because you’re men? That it is okay because you’re the President? That should not be the case),” she added.
The Vice President said she sees no problem throwing criticisms on public officials as long as they are true and not disrespectful.
“Kasi dapat iyong lebel ng conversation disente kasi tayong mga Pilipino disenteng tao naman tayo (It is because the level of conversation should be decent because we, as Filipinos, are decent),” she said.
Amid the backlash she received from the administration and Duterte’s supporters, she looked at the brighter side, citing the donations that poured in.
Aside from the donated relief goods, her office and its private partner Kaya Natin! Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership received more than P60 million in cash donations.
“I think it’s a message [outpouring of donations] that the people don’t agree to the treatment my office has been receiving. Even if I don’t always agree with the President, I’ve always respected the post he holds. I can’t disrespect the President because he represents the office entrusted to him by the public,” she said.