MANILA, Philippines — In December 2015, then vice presidential candidate Leni Robredo shared a quick meal with Sara Duterte-Carpio at a carinderia in Davao City, acknowledging the then former Davao mayor as her pal and hoping that politics would not ruin their friendship.
Almost two years later, after they both won in the polls and Sara is now pro-actively defending her father from his critics, is the Vice President willing to extend her friendship with the Davao mayor by joining an alliance that Sara recently helped launch?
This was the question posed by media to Robredo on Tuesday, a day after President Rodrigo Duterte’s daughter led the launching in Taguig City of Tapang at Malasakit Alliance for the Philippines, an umbrella organization of groups that support the Duterte administration.
The Vice President said she was open to joining the alliance if its beliefs and goals are similar to hers.
“Tayo naman, parati tayong open to joining, as long as pareho iyong mga paniniwala,” said Robredo, during an interview while she was at Sabang Beach in Bulan, Sorsogon for a dialog with fisherfolk.
According to the Vice President, everyone has the right to form organizations that espouse advocacies and while she did not exactly know Tapang at Malasakit’s advocacies, she thought that it would be good for the country if people with the same beliefs belong to the same groups.
“Lahat naman may karapatan na magtayo ng mga movements na mayroong ina-advocate. Hindi ko masyadong alam iyong advocacies noong movement, pero tingin ko kasi nakakabuti para sa bansa natin na iyong mga taong may pare-parehong paniniwala, naggugrupo,” she said.
She cited as example farmers and fishers who make their voices heard and elevate grassroots concerns through community organizing and campaigns.
“Halimbawa sa mga magsasaka, mangingisda, parati nating pino-promote iyong pag-o-organize. Kasi sa pag-o-organize lang lalong napapalakas iyong boses. Kapag may gusto tayong ipahiwatig na pakiramdam, mas malakas iyong boses kapag nag-organisa,” said Robredo.
On Monday, during the launch of Tapang at Malasakit, the Davao mayor stressed that the country’s enemies “are criminals, terrorists, and poverty.” She also assailed her father’s critics, saying that while she believed in “dissent because it is a facet of democracy…it is a different matter altogether if you lie just to oppose.”
Moreover, Sara said that while President Duterte is only “human” and “very, very imperfect,” her father “is a wrangler.”
“And we only have…five years to take advantage of that warrior spirit, of that aggressive spirit and use him, s’ya ang gagamitin natin [we will use him] to create a better future for our country,” the mayor said.