Work on unifying the nation instead of “glorifying a dictator,” Vice President Leni Robredo on Friday said in a message to President Rodrigo Duterte, reacting to his remarks that the country was better off with a dictator “like (Ferdinand) Marcos” than with her at the helm.
“Instead of continuing to glorify a dictator who stole billions from our country, drove the nation into debt, and presided over the murder and imprisonment of thousands of Filipinos, he can work on truly unifying the nation and assuring our people, especially those at the fringes, that their voices are being heard and that their daily suffering will soon be eased,” Robredo said.
In a speech on Thursday, Mr. Duterte again said he wanted to quit before his term ends in 2022 but that he was reluctant to hand over power to Robredo, who was not his running mate.
“You’re better off with a dictator in the likes of Marcos. That is what I suggested. You can have constitutional succession, (with) Robredo, but she cannot hack it,” he said during the 49th Mandaue City Charter Day in Cebu.
Mr. Duterte earlier said he wanted former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., the late dictator’s son who lost in the 2016 vice presidential race, to be his successor. The younger Marcos had filed an electoral protest against Robredo, accusing her of fraud.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the President’s preference for Marcos was just his “personal belief.”
“With all due respect to the Vice President, that’s a personal assessment made by the President,” Roque said.
Members of the opposition also slammed Mr. Duterte’s remarks, with former Commission on Human Rights Chair Etta Rosales saying it was time for Filipinos to “wake up” and “not get fooled” by government actions toward the establishment of a dictatorship.
“This is the reason he wants to get rid of the 1987 Charter, a framework of governance that restored democratic rule and its principles of separation of powers, checks and balances, human rights and social justice against a dictatorship under Marcos,” Rosales said.