Weak female? Robredo says she dared do what male officials wouldn't under Duterte admin

Published December 4, 2021, 10:40 AM

by Ellson Quismorio

Presidential aspirant, Vice President Leni Robredo has a savage retort to all those branding her as a “weak” leader on the basis of her being a woman.

Vice President Leni Robredo (Mark Balmores/ File photo/ MANILA BULLETIN)

Robredo, speaking in an interview with Philippine showbiz royalty Sharon Cuneta, noted that criticisms about being weak aren’t new to her.

“Nag-run ako for the VP, ganun din yung issue sakin (That was also the issue thrown at me when I ran for VP). And I think, largely it’s because of my gender. Yes, [it’s the macho culture],” she told Cuneta in the 75-minute interview, which was uploaded to the Sharon Cuneta Network channel on YouTube on Friday night, Dec. 3.

“Parang naa-associate na kapag babae, mahina; kapag lalaki, strong. Yung pagiging strong sa atin, hindi naman palakasan ng boses, hindi naman brashness, di ba? (It’s being associated that, you’re weak if you’re a woman and you’re strong if you’re a man. But being strong has nothing to do with having a loud voice and being brash, right?)” the opposition leader said.

Robredo then noted how she dared go where most male government officials chose not to under the popular Duterte administration.

“Not to defend myself, pero andami kong pinasok na hindi nga nag-dare yung ibang lalaki eh (but I entered into a lot of things that the other men didn’t even dare go to),” she said.

“Halimbawa, kapag may nakita akong mali…kahit alam ko na titrahin ako ng mga trolls, sinasabi ko pa din kasi pakiramdam ko, responsibility ko yun eh (For example, if I see a mistake…even if I know the trolls will criticize me, I still call it out becasue I feel that it’s my responsibility),” she said.

“Hindi ako natakot na kahit magalit sa akin yung Pangulo, kahit–di ba? Para sa akin strength yun eh na alam na pwede kang ma-sideline, alam mo na it might cost [you] your job pero ginagawa mo pa din dahil sa paniniwala (I wasn’t afraid of the President getting mad with me. For me, that’s a sign of strength, to do it just the same based on your beliefs even if you’ll get sidelined becasue of it or it might cost you your job).”

In November 2019, Robredo was offered to co-chair the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) along with Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Aaron Aquino.

President Duterte made the offer after Robredo branded his bloody war on drugs as a “failure”. Robredo accepted the post, but was unceremoniously sacked by the President after just 18 days on the job.

Robredo recalled in the interview that Duterte “belatedly” gave her a Cabinet post in 2016, the year that they both assumed power. Specifically, the Vice President was made Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) chairperson.

However, Robredo was later ordered by Cabinet Secretary Jun Evasco to “desist from attending all Cabinet meetings.” Evasco did so via text message.

The Vice President would resign as HUDCC chief before the year was over.