Guingona: Duterte, Robredo can work together

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 30 2016 11:52 PM

Despite their separate inaugurations, at least one former vice-president believes President Rodrigo Duterte and Vice-President Leni Robredo can work closely in the future.

Former Vice-President Teofisto Guingona Jr. told ANC on Thursday that the similarities in Duterte's and Robredo's respective advocacies to help the poor, women, and children can convince the two leaders to have good working relations.

"They have the same objectives, at least in that aspect, so there may be a time when both will reconcile—I mean, not reconcile, but work closely," he said.

However, he noted that their decision to hold seperate inauguration ceremonies--a first in Philippine history-- shows that "the parties have to improve on their relationship."

"I think, Leni is trying to [do] her best, and the president is looking. I think in due time, this development will come about," Guingona said, adding that this is not the first time the top two executives of the country are at odds at the beginning of their term.

He said then President Carlos P. Garcia "did not want to have anything" with his vice-president, Diosdado Macapagal, who came from a rival party. Garcia was a member of the Nacionalista Party, while Macapagal was from the Liberal Party.

"At that time, Macapagal had no office. There was no existing extra office, not even in Malacañang. So what did he do? Macapagal toured the country and in a sense, he was already campaigning at that time," he said.

Although Garcia tried to make amends with Macapagal, Guingona said it was a little late. Hence, when Garcia ran for a re-election, he lost to Macapagal.

Guingona, who served as vice-president after Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo became president in the wake of the EDSA 2 uprising, noted that Macapagal's situation is similar to Robredo, with both vice-presidents not having a Cabinet post.

He said the budget of the Office of the Vice-President may be able to afford Robredo an advantage in advancing her advocacies.

"I think during the time of (Jejomar) Binay, he was able to increase not only the budget, but other aspects. There’s enough room for [Robredo]," he said.

Robredo's legitimacy as the elected vice-president, however, is being challenged by her rival, former Senator Bongbong Marcos.

For Guingona, Marcos' prominence in the political scene could lead to his family's return to power, but the future depends on how well Duterte can deliver on his promises.

"If he is 70% or 80% successful, then it will be a fertile ground for more collaboration and adjustments," he said.

Duterte as a president, he added, is unique in a way that the Philippines has never had one like him—one who has vowed to launch no-nonsense campaigns against illegal drugs and crime.

"I would say that Duterte can really change because he told me that the elite that is those belonging to A, B, and C can really take care of themselves, but he has to take care of D, E persons who are the most affected with poverty and hardship," he said.