Vice President Leni Robredo (Photo from the Office of the Vice President)
MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo clarified on Sunday that she would be “ready but not eager” to take over the country’s top post should President Rodrigo Duterte declare a revolutionary government. So she urged the President to continue to protect and uphold the Constitution.
In a statement, Robredo clarified that her “readiness” to take over the office should not be mistaken for “eagerness,” saying that the discussion on declaring a revolutionary government began with the President.
On Saturday, the Vice President said: “Anyone who aspires to the vice presidency must be ready for any eventuality because that’s the mandate of the office.”
This sparked comments among Robredo’s critics who noted her “eagerness” to take over.
“We are not the one who started talking about the issue. Actually, it was the President who made the threat. We only made a comment,” Robredo said in “BISErbisyong LENI,” her weekly program aired over AM station DZXL.
Last Thursday, April 4, at the Annual Convention of the Prosecutor’s League of the Philippines, the President threatened that he would declare a revolutionary government following a comment by Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon urging him to be careful in reviewing government contracts.
The President also warned that he would suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus and have his critics arrested.
Robredo said, however, that doing so would mean that Duterte was turning his back on his duty to uphold the Constitution.
“When a RevGov [revolutionary government] is declared, it will be like abandoning his duty to uphold the Constitution,” Robredo said in her Sunday radio program.
The Vice President added that there was no valid reason or circumstance to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.
“The Constitution is very clear regarding the writ of habeas corpus,” she said. “There are particular circumstances where its suspension can be declared. Currently, those circumstances are not in place, that’s why it cannot be suspended.”
Unlike Cory Aquino’s declaration
Robredo also clarified that the President’s threat was different from President Corazon Aquino’s declaration of a revolutionary government in February 1986.
“During the time of President Cory, the situation was very different. Back then, we were just off the EDSA revolution. The President back then left the country and his duties. There was confusion because both President Cory and President Marcos took an oath even though the former was the one who won the elections. The situation back then was different.”
She added that the declaration of revolutionary government was immediately lifted.
“Before, there was a lot of confusion,” she said. “The revolutionary government was only declared for a limited time, right? They only fixed the problems and lifted it after the submission of the 1987 Constitution.”
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