The Daily Manila Shimbun


Palace welcomes Robredo’s openness to have dinner with Duterte

March 28, 2017

Malacanang welcomed on Tuesday the openness of Vice President Leni Robredo to have a dinner-meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacanang.

"It's nice," said Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella in a press briefing when asked on Robredo's openness to accept Duterte's invitation for a dinner.

But he said the date was yet to be set for the dinner.

In a radio interview, Robredo said she accepted Duterte’s offer to have dinner because even if they do not agree on many issues, every means must be used to improve  public service. “We are elected officials and given a mandate to serve the people,” said Robredo.

Duterte invited Robredo and her children for a dinner in Malacanang when they attended the graduation of the Philippine National Police Academy in Cavite last week.

Duterte’s  invitation came following Robredo's video message that was sent to the United Nations expressing concern on the alleged extrajudicial killings of drug suspects in the Philippines.

Aside from Robredo, the European Union, human rights groups, and international media organizations have criticized Duterte's bloody war on illegal drugs.

Abella has said Robredo's message before the UN and that of others' statements were not coincidental as he accused what has been happening "seems to be orchestrated."

He has specifically cited the New York Times series of articles against Duterte, saying, "certain  personalities and politicians have mounted a well funded campaign utilizing hack writers and their ilk in their bid to oust" the President.

Asked in the briefing who could be funding the moves to remove Duterte, Abella said, "Well, let’s just put it this way: Who would benefit best from such an effect? The intention is, for example, to discredit the President and to apparently push it to its rational limits."

"So who would benefit from that? I mean, I’m not going to speculate on that but certainly somebody would benefit from the situation, would be quite interested in supporting something like that," he added.

Robredo expressed belief that the New York Times's articles on Duterte's drug war are not linked to oust the president.

Asked on Robredo's statement, Abella said, "I think they should discuss that over dinner." Celerina Monte/DMS