Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Maria Leonor ``Leni`` Robredo


President invites Vice President, daughters to dinner with his family; Robredo accepts


MANILA – Notwithstanding their differences over policies and other political matters, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo will have dinner along with their respective families.

Duterte extended the dinner invitation to Robredo and her daughters when they attended the graduation ceremony of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Academy over the weekend.

Robredo said in a radio station DZMM interview that she has accepted Duterte’s invitation as she considers it as a gesture of reconciliation and it would be improper for her to turn it down.

There is yet no date for the dinner between the Dutertes and Robredos though.

Speaking in Filipino, Robredo said, “he’s the President. To me I see it as extending a hand. The assumptions should always be good intentions, right? It is bad if I don’t meet his offer halfway.”

The relationship between the two top Philippine officials had been tense following Robredo’s criticism of several policies of the Duterte administration and the ongoing war on drugs that the President initiated soon after he assumed office in June last year.

Tension heightened between Duterte and Robredo recently after the Vice President sent a video message to the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs in which she lambasted the administration’s Oplan Tokhang (Double Barrel) where more than 8,000 drug suspects have been killed in police operations and by vigilantes.

Duterte and Robredo are both facing impeachment complaints in Congress.

Duterte was accused by Magdalo party-list Congressman Gary Alejano of involvement in the extrajudicial killings of drug suspects, amassing ill-gotten wealth and other high crimes.

Robredo, on the other hand, was accused of betrayal of public trust when she sent the video message to the UN body. The complaint against her was filed at the office of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez by lawyer Oliver Lozano and broadcaster Melchor Chavez.

The complaint against Robredo could not be filed at the office of the House secretary because it has to be endorsed by a congressman.

Commenting on the dinner invitation by Duterte to Robredo, opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV cautioned Robredo about accepting it because it may be a “trap”.

In reaction, Robredo said, “I’m aware of the concerns of many. But I think at the end of the day, we were both elected. We were both given mandates to serve the country and it is our obligation to find common ground even if we don’t agree on some issues.”

Robredo also said she told Duterte during the PNP graduation ceremony that she had nothing to do with the impeachment complaint filed by Alejano and she quoted the President as replying: “I know that”.

Meanwhile, Robredo wished Duterte good health and a successful presidency when the President celebrated his 72nd birthday yesterday. GAC/Expat Media


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