MANILA - Vice President Leni Robredo could become the leader of the opposition after she quit President Rodrigo Duterte's cabinet due to policy differences, a political analyst said Monday.
Robredo resigned as housing secretary, ending a five-month stint in Duterte's official family. She has differed with the President on alleged extrajudicial killings of illegal drug suspects and the burial of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes' Cemetery).
If the disagreements deepen, Robredo could assume the role as "de facto leader" of the opposition, De La Salle University political science professor Richard Heydarian told ABS-CBN's "Umagang Kay Ganda."
"Sa isang functioning, healthy democracy, kailangan talaga ng mobilized opposition. At aminin natin, over the past five or six months, hindi klaro kung sino ang leader ng opposition," he added.
(In a functioning, healthy democracy, a mobilized opposition is necessary. Let's admit it, over the past five or six months, it is not clear who the leader of the opposition is.)
Duterte enjoys majority support in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Robredo is a member of the Liberal Party, whose standard-bearer, Mar Roxas, lost to Duterte last May.
Robredo's resignation, however, may not herald the ouster of Duterte, unlike the 2001 break between then president Joseph Estrada and his vice president, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Allegations of massive corruption sparked a military-backed popular revolt against Estrada that eventually swept Arroyo into power.
Unlike Estrada, Duterte enjoys high survey ratings, Heydarian said.
Duterte, through text messages passed on by two senior aides, asked Robredo to stop attending future cabinet meetings. Heydarian said this could be considered a "constructive dismissal" of the Vice President from the Cabinet.