PHILIPPINE Vice President Leni Robredo will not oppose any decision to appoint former Senator “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to a Cabinet position, her camp said on Monday, April 10.
Robredo’s spokesperson, Georgina Hernandez, made the statement amid speculations that President Rodrigo Duterte may appoint Marcos as the new Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) chief, following the dismissal of former Secretary Ismael Sueno earlier this month over corruption allegations.
Emphasizing that the appointing of the members of the Cabinet depends on the president, Hernandez guaranteed that Robredo will “respect” Duterte’s decision.
“Ang sa atin naman, yung pagtatalaga ng miyembro ng Gabinete, alam natin at tinatanggap po natin na ito po ay desisyon ng Pangulo (We accept the fact that appointing members of the Cabinet depends on the President’s decision, which will be respected by Vice President Robredo),” Hernandez told DZXL RMN Manila in an interview.
While no decision has been made yet, Marcos — if appointed — would only be able to assume the role in mid-May, as the Constitution bans defeated candidates from serving any Cabinet post until a year after the election.
“Ang sa atin po basta po malinaw yung plano at yung kredibilidad at yung kakayahan ng taong itatalaga, sana po ay yun po ang ma-consider (As far as we are concerned, we are just hoping that the credibility, competence and the vision of the person would be the things considered),” Hernandez said.
In an earlier interview, however, Robredo described the possibility of Marcos getting a Cabinet position as “scary in the sense that he will again be given an opportunity to do what they did before,” referring to the reign of his father, former President and dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
“There have been several decisions already asking them to pay back whatever they got from the people but all of these judgments are not satisfied yet and now he is aiming for another Cabinet position and for me that is scary in the sense that he will again be given an opportunity to do what they did before,” Robredo said in a television interview last February.
Nevertheless, Robredo maintained that she would respect Duterte’s decision.
“It is always the president’s privilege whom to appoint in his Cabinet but my concern here is that the Marcoses have not paid for what they did to the country,” she said.
In response to speculations, Marcos said he is open to joining Duterte’s Cabinet.
“If the President asks you to serve in whatever capacity, hindi mo pupuwedeng tanggihan (you can’t refuse). Siyempre para sa bansa yan (Of course it’s for the country) and of course I’d be happy, I’d be proud, I’d be honored to serve in any position in the Duterte administration,” he said in an interview.
He admitted that Duterte has not offered him a position
“I have not spoken to the president for a… few weeks now so, and never pa namin napag-usapan ang kahit na anong klaseng (we’ve never discussed any kind of) appointment,” he said.
Earlier, Duterte disclosed that he is not planning to appoint Marcos, saying it would affect the latter’s electoral protest against Robredo.
In June of last year, Marcos filed an electoral protest against Robredo before the Supreme Court (SC), sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET). He accused the vice president of committing massive poll fraud after she won the seat only by a slim margin.
Sought for comments over Duterte’s statement, Marcos said, “I guess I’ll leave that to the lawyers to study, pero pagkaalam ko (as far as I know), it is only during an election that you are abandoning.”
“But don’t worry, I won’t stop until all the votes you gave me have been counted, and we will bring that out in the open,” he added.