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Vice President Leni Robredo addresses the crowd in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 17, 2018.  (Filipino Reporter photos)


By MANNY CABALLERO
Exclusive to the Filipino Reporter


WASHINGTON — Vice President Leni Robredo spoke before a jampacked hall at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a 56-year-old foreign policy think tank based in Washington, D.C., last Wednesday.

The Philippines’ second highest elected official’s 45-minute speech was titled “In Defense of Democracy.”

Without mentioning names, she deplored anti-democratic leaders of nations around the world who resort to “quick fix” and abbreviated solutions to complex social problems.

Although she did not mention names, it was obvious one of the leaders she alluded to was President Rodrigo Duterte, whose bloody anti-drug campaign resulted in extrajudicial killings of thousands of poor suspected drug users and traffickers in the past two years.

She cited a paragraph from a book titled “How Democracies Die?” which said, “Democracies may die at the hands not of generals but of elected leaders-presidents or prime ministers who subvert the very process that brought them to power.”

Robredo also said she favored the continuation of a good and friendly PH-U.S. relations, a position opposed to what President Duterte has done by being friendly to America’s bitter enemies, Russia and China.

The Philippines has two enforced military treaties with the United States.


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The Vice President also called for the enforcement of the arbitral victory of the Philippines on the West Philippine Sea issue.

(Pres. Duterte did the opposite by putting the decision on the table.)

VP Leni, as she is fondly called by supporters, concluded her speech with a discussion of her office’s program aimed at alleviating the lives of poor Filipinos.

The project is called “Angat Buhay” (Lift Lives).

She said she opted to do something constructive and helpful instead of merely doing ceremonial functions and waiting on the sidelines to assume the presidency in the event the President dies, resigns or gets incapacitated.

The Vice President showed slides of her group walking in far-flung barrios wearing rubberized slippers, trademark of her late husband Jesse Robredo, who also made a mark as public official for helping the poor.


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VP Robredo with the Filipino Reporter’s Manny Caballero.

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