MANILA—Vice President Leni Robredo slammed Tuesday the leadership row at the House of Representatives that marred President Rodrigo Duterte's third State of the Nation Address (SONA).
She described the change in House speakership as ill-timed and embarrassing as it unfolded in "full public view."
"Para sa akin, wrong timing siya. Pangalawa, nakakahiya na pinapakita natin sa lahat na iyong pag-wrestle ng power, parang in full public view," she said during a book launch in Quezon City.
"Nagbibigay siya ng impression na ito na ba iyong state ng ating bansa na iyong mas mahalaga pa iyong power struggle kaysa magkaisa tayo para pagtulungan natin iyong mga problemang hinaharap natin."
Former president and incumbent Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo replaced Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez as the new House Speaker.
Arroyo, the sole nominee for the position, was elected in a special session after the ceremonies. She obtained 184 votes, while 12 lawmakers opted to abstain.
"Iyong dating kasi noon sa marami, hindi talaga maganda," Robredo said.
For Robredo, the tug-of-war in the lower chamber eclipsed Duterte's address.
"Hindi maganda na iyong timing niya, at a time na moment sana iyon noong Presidente," she said.
Asked about rumors that Arroyo's election was a precursor to becoming prime minister under a parliamentary form of government, Robredo said "it's too early to tell."
"Kailangan tayong mga mamamayan kailangan parating nagbabantay," she said.
Arroyo earlier dismissed speculations in a 2009 radio interview, calling it hypothetical. - With a report from Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News