Watch: President Rodrigo Duterte Jokes at VP Leni Robredo on Their First Meeting (Video)
Finally, President Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo finally meet. The highly-anticipated Duterte-Robredo first meeting happened this Friday, July 1, during the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) change of command ceremony at Camp Aguinaldo, with Duterte also offering juice to VP Robredo. Watch the video below.
As you can see, President Duterte and VP Robredo were the official guests of the AFP turn-over rites, where outgoing Lt. Gen. Glorioso Miranda.was officially replaced by Lt. Gen. Ricardo Visaya as the 48th AFP chief of staff. Miranda was appointed as Acting AFP chief of staff by then-President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III only last April.
The event also marked Duterte as the new commander-in-chief, and his first visit to Camp Aguinaldo as president. But while there were earlier speculations that Duterte might not act like a gentleman once he meets Leni Robredo, the president smiled at him and even cracked a joke at the start of his speech as he acknowledged her presence.
“This is the first time that I meet you personally. I would have preferred to be seated beside you (VP Leni Robredo) but nandyan si defense, e,” President Duterte said, as the crowd laughed. He was referring to National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, with Miranda sitting between him (Duterte) and VP Robredo. Former president Fidel V. Ramos, who endorsed Duterte and Robredo, was also present smiled to both of them.
As we all know, Duterte and Robredo had separate inaugurations this Thursday, June 30. Earlier rumors said that Duterte did not want to take oath with Robredo. Her winning as vice president was filled with controversy, with the alleged cheating by Liberal Party (LP), Robredo’s party during the first night of counting of votes by the Comelec.
Leni Robredo beat Sen. Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos’ Jr in the tight vice-presidential race, winning with 14,418,817 votes, with a very slim margin of 263473 votes away from the 14,155,344 votes for the lone son of the late-president Ferdinand Marcos. As an added controversy, President Duterte did not offer VP Robredo any cabinet position.
Christopher “Bong” Go, Duterte’s top aide, said the first Duterte-Robredo meeting should have happened last Friday in Davao last Friday but the VP backed out because she was set to go for an overseas trip. On the other hand, Georgina Hernandez, Robredo’s spokesperson, denied it, saying that their camp was never consulted about the meeting.
Meanwhile, VP Leni Robredo talked to reporters after the said AFP event, describing her first meeting with Duterte as “cordial,” She added that she asked permission from the president if they can set a meeting or a courtesy call once she returns to her office. Robredo said that President Duterte told her, “Yes, you can come anytime.”