Just my opinion
By Raïssa Robles
This evening, Duterte insinuated before an assembly in Malacañang Palace that had gathered for the Fourth State Conference of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) that Vice President Leni Robredo was plotting to unseat him.
Around 12 minutes into his usual rambling speech, Duterte joked, “Ang plano ko is a, magresign na siguro ako. (My plan is, maybe I will just resign)”
Then he said, “Yung mga yellow diyan, nagdedemonstrate kayo. (Those yellows among you, you are demonstrating.)”
However, lest the Malacañang crowd which included high government officials from various branches of government mistakenly think that he was referring to them, Duterte hastily told them, “Hindi kayo (Not you).”
Duterte then continued to talk about the “yellows” and said, “you want me out because you cannot accept defeat.”
“Pero yung sabi mong yung left they would never even allow me to step down, to step to the ground. yang mga Komunista. yang NPA. Puro Duterte yan. Tingnan mo. (But those you call the Left, they would never allow me to step down, to step to the ground. Those Communists, the NPA [New People’s Army]. Puro Duterte yan, tingnan mo. (They are all pro-Duterte. You see.) ”
Then Duterte bluntly added, “Eto pulitika ito. She wanted me out. Siyempre yung, the Vice President.” (Now this is politics. She wanted me out. Of course, the vice president.)”
What is the basis for the president to accuse the vice-president of plotting to unseat him?
Of course, the Philippines has a historical precedent for a lady vice-president to plot such a thing. Duterte’s political ally, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, actually did that to the sitting President Joseph Estrada. She actually plotted with some generals to ease Estrada out of office. I know this because I interviewed Lieutenant General Edgardo Espinosa afterward about their plot.
At the moment, I do not yet sense such ambition or cunning from Robredo. I still sense a certain naivete about her in the art of political wheeling and dealing.
So why has Duterte targeted her this early?
A line from Shakespeare’s Henry the Fourth comes to mind: “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”
I notice that Duterte has a penchant for accusing people before they have even done the thing he is accusing them of doing. He also branded everyone who was demonstrating against the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos as “yellows”. And for him, policy differences between him and Robredo over the dictator’s burial as a hero, the reimposition of the death penalty and the extra-judicial killings – all these weren’t factors that made Robredo issue public statements against these policies.
Duterte simply saw Robredo’s dissent as purely politics.
If Duterte considers Robredo a threat, this must be why he wanted her out of his Cabinet.
The coming New Year will be an exciting year indeed.