MANILA (UPDATED) — Vice President Leni Robredo on Friday said she was "not ready" to move on from the pork barrel scam, proposed background checks for election candidates, and pushed for restrictions against political turncoats.
Robredo made these remarks as she faced panelists in the KBP presidential forum "Panata sa Bayan 2022.”
Here is a summary of her stand on various issues.
“Iyong turncoatism, kailangan bawal,” said Robredo.
(Turncoatism should be banned.)
The Vice President, an independent candidate, remains a leader of the Liberal Party, many members of which jumped ship after its 2016 standard-bearer Mar Roxas lost to President Rodrigo Duterte.
Robredo said the Philippines should "open the debate" on run-off elections. This involves 2 rounds of voting, where only 2 candidates make it to the second round.
Robredo also noted that in some countries, political turncoats lose certain privileges.
“High time na gawin natin ‘yon kasi dito sa atin, hindi na importante iyong mga ideologies,” she said.
(It's high time we do that because here, ideologies are no longer important.)
Robredo said she supports background checks not just on election contenders, but all public officials.
“Public office is a public trust. Kailangan talagang lagi kaming tsinicheck, parating may audit kung may korapsyong nangyayari,” said the Vice President.
“Kailangan magkaroon ng sistema at mekanismo para naaudit yong aming ginagawa, may eleksyon man o wala—lalong-lalo na ‘pag may eleksyon.”
(We should always be checked, there should always be an audit on whether or not there is corruption. There should be a system and mechanism to audit what we do, whether or not there is an election—even more if there is an election.)
She continued, “‘Pag may eleksyon, kailangan talaga maisiwalat ano ba iyong mga accusations laban sa kaniya, meron ba siyang mga conviction, ano ba iyong mga kaniyang pinagdaanan ano ba iyong kaniyang record.”
(If there’s an election, the accusations against a candidate should be revealed, whether they face convictions, what they went through, what is their record.)
“Dapat bahagi ito ng pagkilatis ito sa kaniya ng taongbayan na boboto sa kaniya,” she said.
(This should be part of the scrutiny by the public that will vote for him or her.)
On the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scandal, Robredo said, “Hindi pa tayo ready mag move on kasi marami pang mga kaso ang wala pang resolution.”
(We are not yet ready to move on because many cases have yet to reach a resolution.)
She noted some lawmakers who were accused of funneling their PDAF into bogus organizations are even running in the May local and national polls.
“Sa akin talaga, kailangan we get to the bottom of this kasi pag walang resolution ito, paulit-ulit siyang mangyayari,” she said.
(For me, we need to we get to the bottom of this because without a resolution, this will just keep happening.)
Asked if a possible reinvestigation could cover her allies, Robredo said, “Kasama, hindi kasama, kalaban, kakampi, wala tayong kikilingan.”
(Whether they’re with us or not, foe or ally, we will not side with anyone.)
Robredo said the potential economic benefits of reclamation projects “should never come at the cost of iyong environment saka mga social cost (the environment and social costs).”
But she said reclamation plans typically go through “very shallow consultations.”
“Para sa akin, mahalaga talaga iyong mekanismo na pinapakinggan iyong experts, iyong People’s Councils na from Day 1, meron nang platform para iyong boses nila napapakinggan,” she said.
(For me, the mechanism for experts to be heard is important, the People’s Council from Day 1, so that there is a platform for their voices to be heard.)
Will Robredo continue the infrastructure projects of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration?
“Lahat ng mga programang nakakasa na, itutuloy natin basta wala itong problema,” she said.
(We will continue all programs that are in place, as long as these have no problems.)
But Robredo said her infrastructure program would focus on rural development, water resources, public transport, reconstruction of housing projects in calamity-hit areas, connectivity, and shift to technology-based resources.
Robredo said she would not sign the bill seeking the creation of the Boracay Island Development Authority.
“While agree ako na mahalaga na maayos ang Boracay through a tourism authority, ang hindi ako dito agree, na nawawalan ng boses ang stakeholders, nawalan ng boses iyong local government unit,” she said.
(While I agree that it is important to fix Boracay through a tourism authority, what I don’t agree with is when stakeholders lose their voice, the local government unit lost its voice.)
Robredo said facilities under the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology were already 582 percent congested back in 2017, with about 70 percent of cases being drug related.
She said the Dangerous Drugs Act should be amended so that there is “delineation” of penalties between narcotics peddlers and users.
Robredo said there should be a tertiary hospital per region or province so patients need not go to Metro Manila. She added barangay health centers should have at least one nurse and basic equipment.
“Dapat talaga palakasin natin iyong community-based na programs sa kalusugan,” she said.
(We should strengthen the community-based health programs.)