Duterte open to ‘cordial’ ties with VP-elect

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - Although he has initially dismissed giving her a position in his Cabinet, incoming Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is open to having “cordial” ties with Vice President-elect Leni Robredo. 

Philippine President-elect Rodrigo Duterte is open to a “cordial working relationship” with Vice President-elect Leni Robredo although they come from opposite sides of the political fence, his spokesperson said on Thursday.

Designated presidential spokesperson Ernesto “Ernie” Abella expressed optimism that the country’s incoming top two officials would maintain a professional relationship even if they have yet to formally meet.

“I don’t know about the exact date or plans [of a possible meeting], but I’m sure that the President, being President of the entire nation, is quite open to having a cordial relationship with the Vice President, or more than cordial … working relationship,” Abella said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel’s program “Dateline Philippines.”

“But as to the nature of it, I cannot say so,” he said.

Duterte’s camp opted for a separate inauguration from Robredo, saying their decision to have an “austere” celebration in Malacañang would not allow the incoming Vice President to invite more guests. Abella said Duterte was “not a very pompous person and does not stand on ceremonies” but “appreciates order.”

The incoming Chief Executive previously said there was “no compelling reason” for him to give Robredo a Cabinet position as he did not want to offend his friend, defeated vice presidential candidate Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

The son and namesake of the late dictator lost to Robredo by more than 200,000 votes.

Robredo, a member of the outgoing administration’s Liberal Party, vowed to reach out to Duterte and assure him of her 100-per-cent support.

Abella said what he admired most about Duterte was what he called his “sense of flexibility and openness,” which he said was “contrary to the common perception that he’s bullheaded.”

“He does have a listening ear and quite willing to adjust although he has very firm ideas about what needs to be done and what needs to be achieved,” he said.