By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
and Sarah C. Imperial
Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” G. Robredo remains hopeful that there will be more opportunities for her and President Rodrigo Duterte to settle their differences and mend their professional relationship.
In a press briefing late Friday afternoon at the Avenue Hotel in Naga City, Robredo admitted that she and the President have yet to meet since December.
Meantime, in an effort to fast track the rehabilitation of areas devastated by typhoon Nina in the Bicol region, Robredo met with heads and representatives of different government and private agencies and the mayors of 10 towns.
“We are now on the rehabilitation phase, after relief operations, because the people need alternative livelihood and shelter, the effects of the damage in agriculture is far reaching” she said. Abaca plantations, which is Catanduanes’ main livelihood will take a long rehabilitation, so will the coconut plantations, she added.
On December 3, 2016, a text message was sent by Cabinet Secretary Jun Evasco, Jr. relaying the President’s instruction through his executive assistant Bong Go for Robredo “to desist from attending all Cabinet meetings” starting December 5.
Soon after, Robredo tendered her resignation as chairperson of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC).
“Hindi pa nagkakaroon ng opportunity magkita” (We have not had the opportunity to meet),” she said when asked about her working relationship with the President.
Robredo said that she was expecting to see the President last January 11, during the traditional “Vin d’Honneur” in Malacañang.
Malacanang, however, later withdrew the invitation.
“I thought we will see each other in Vin d’Honneur but they took back the invitation,” she said.
“I think there will be an opportunity to meet again, I remain hopeful,” she added.
“We need to be optimistic because there are so many things that need to be done,” she said.