Robredo: Liberal Party leadership? I have a full plate
MANILA, Philippines – "I have too much on my hands right now."
Vice President Leni Robredo explained on Tuesday, July 26, why she will be just a symbolic head of the Liberal Party (LP) – at least for now.
"Itong pagpalit ng mukha ng Office of the Vice President napakalaking bagay kasi para kaming nagsisimula ng isang bagay na wala pa diyan before, making the office more advocacy-heavy. Tapos bigla pang dumating 'yung HUDCC, ang dami ring housing concerns," Robredo told reporters.
(The Office of the Vice President is revamping. It's a big thing because it's like we're starting from scratch. We're making the office more advocacy-heavy. Then there's my appointment as Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council chief. There are a lot of housing concerns.)
The LP's constitution calls for the highest elected official to be the head of the party. Former president Benigno Aquino III was LP chairman during his term as the country's leader.
Aquino earlier said that Robredo would be the next party head, but the Vice President has seemed hesitant about it.
Robredo noted that she is a neophyte member of a political party whose members are veteran politicians.
"Siguro eventually I can take it on, pero ngayon siguro mas mabuti na iyong mga matatagal na, iyong mga nakakaalam ng ins and outs ng partido, sila iyong mag-take muna ng leadership role," she said.
(Maybe eventually I can take it on, but for now, it's probably better for the veterans, those who know the ins and outs of the party, to take a leadership role.)
LP: Majority vs minority
Asked if LP members who chose to be part of the minority bloc in the House of Representatives should take a leave from the party, Robredo said they have yet to discuss the matter.
Last Saturday, July 23, former House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr dropped his bid to be the minority leader. This was followed by the LP's signing of a coalition pact with the new ruling party, President Rodrigo Duterte's Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).
The LP, the last one to seal an alliance with PDP-Laban, joined the bandwagon because of Duterte's "huge mandate." Belmonte also cited keeping the priority status for district projects as a reason for staying with the majority. (READ: Why the Liberal Party stayed in the House majority)
A few LP members, however, decided to be part of the minority. LP member Ifugao Representative Teddy Baguilat Jr on Tuesday maintained he should be declared House minority leader because he got the second highest number of votes in the speakership race, after Davao del Norte 1st District Representative Pantaleon Alvarez.
But Quezon 3rd District Representative Danilo Suarez, who got the third highest number of votes, is challenging Baguilat for the post. – Rappler.com