Separate inauguration a first in recent history

Jess Diaz and Paolo Romero - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The inauguration of president-elect Rodrigo Duterte and vice president-elect Leni Robredo will be the first in recent history where the two highest elected officials will be sworn in to office separately.

Special circumstances aside – such as when then vice president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo took her oath alone at EDSA Shrine on Jan. 20, 2001 – the president and the vice president always took their oaths at the same venue.

Arroyo’s first vice president, Teofisto Guingona Jr., took his oath following the congressional confirmation of his selection on Feb. 9, 2001.

On Feb. 25, 1986, following the snap elections called by dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr., his challenger, former president Corazon Aquino, took her oath with vice president Salvador Laurel in Club  Filipino.

On the same day, Marcos – who also claimed victory in the said election – took his oath at the Rizal Ceremonial Hall in Malacañang without his vice president Arturo Tolentino.

Reports cited conflicting reports for the latter’s absence.

It was Aquino and Laurel who served the full six-year term as Marcos fled from the Palace during the 1986 People Power Revolution.

Aquino’s successor, Fidel Ramos, took his oath of office with then vice president Joseph Estrada at the Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park on June 30, 1992.

Estrada, meanwhile, took his oath with vice president Arroyo at Barasoain Church in Malolos, Bulacan in honor of the centennial of Philippine independence on June 30, 1998.

After winning her second term in 2004, Arroyo took her oath with vice president Noli De Castro in Cebu, also on June 30.

Outgoing President Aquino  took his oath with Vice President Jejomar Binay also at Quirino Grandstand on June 30, 2010.

Binay congratulates Robredo

Outgoing Vice President Jejomar Binay has extended his congratulations to his successor, vice president-elect Leni Robredo.

In a letter dated May 31, a copy of which was posted by Robredo’s daughter Aika in her Twitter account yesterday, Binay said he has instructed his chief of staff to coordinate with her team to discuss the transition at the Office of the Vice President (OVP).

“I look forward to personally meeting you. For the past six years, and despite its modest budget, the OVP has extended assistance to thousands of poor and marginalized Filipinos, including our brothers and sisters working abroad,” Binay said in the letter.

“I am confident that with you as the next vice president, the OVP will continue to be an instrument for social justice,” he added.

Robredo’s daughter thanked the outgoing Vice President for the support in the transition.

“Thank you very much for being so gracious, @VPJojoBinay! Your team has been very helpful and accommodating,” she said in the tweet.

Yesterday, Robredo was the main guest at the Department of Education’s “Kariton Klasrum” culminating activity where she thanked outgoing Education Secretary Armin Luistro and outgoing Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman for their commitment and dedication to serve the youth.

Binay and Robredo’s transition teams met last week to discuss the smooth turnover of the functions of the OVP.

A meeting between the two will also be set up prior to the inauguration of new government officials on June 30.

Binay ran an unsuccessful campaign for president under the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).

Robredo, meanwhile, was the runningmate of administration bet Manuel Roxas II, who also lost the race.

During the transition meeting, OVP chief of staff Benjamin Martinez said Robredo would inherit the bulk of the P500-million budget of the office for 2016.

Robredo’s chief of staff Boyet Dy expressed gratitude to the Binay camp for giving them the financial flexibility to pursue the programs that the new vice president would want to pursue.

“She wants to use it as a platform to engage as many stakeholders as possible around anti-poverty programs, pushing for her key advocacy of women’s empowerment, making sure that development is not just in the urban areas but also in our provinces and regions and making sure that we win the fight against hunger,” he said.

VP loser better treated by Duterte

Meanwhile, defeated vice presidential bet Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is allegedly receiving better treatment from Duterte than the vice president-elect, reelected Ifugao Rep. Teodoro Baguilat Jr. said yesterday.

He said Marcos, unlike Robredo, has already met with the incoming president in Davao City to discuss his concerns on the burial of his father and possibly serving in the Duterte administration in the future.

In the case of Robredo, he said she is getting snubbed by Duterte despite the latter’s call for unity and healing.

“Previous vice presidents served in the Cabinet. In the case of Leni, there is no offer of a Cabinet post. To add insult to injury, the incoming president has announced that he wants an inauguration that is separate from that of Leni. It’s as if they still consider us in the Liberal Party as political enemies. The trust is not there,” he said.

Baguilat suggested that Robredo should no longer expect any Cabinet post from Duterte and that she should instead lead the opposition.

“Our candidate for president lost to Mayor Duterte, so we should expect to be in the opposition,” he said.

Duterte said offering the vice president-elect a Cabinet job has not crossed his mind.

Besides, it might hurt Marcos, who is his friend, he said.

It might also hurt his supporters in Ilocos Norte, where he won, he said.

Duterte lamented that he “lost miserably” in Bicol, Robredo’s region.

On another issue, Baguilat said he is disappointed by the failure of Roxas and the Liberal Party to file their respective statements of contributions and expenses on time.

“I hope that we will not be affected,” he said, referring to speculations that such failure could prevent LP winners from assuming office.

But he said he is not ready to agree to rumors that some LP insiders were trying to sabotage Robredo.

Marcos has announced that he would file an election protest against the vice president-elect with the Supreme Court sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal on June 28. He lost by a slim margin of 263,473 votes.

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