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Robredo: ‘Tasteless’ remarks on women have no place in society

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Vice President Leni Robredo INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / NINO JESUS ORBETA

Vice President Leni Robredo INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / NINO JESUS ORBETA

Vice President Leni Robredo on Wednesday called President Rodrigo Duterte’s remarks about her as “inappropriate,” saying such “tasteless” comments should have no place in the society, especially when it comes from the country’s leaders.

Robredo made this statement after Duterte joked about how he and Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez would look at the vice president’s knees during a cabinet meeting in Malacañang.

READ: Duterte admits ogling at Robredo’s legs during Cabinet meeting

Duterte said this during in a public speech the third anniversary of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” in Tacloban City, where thousands died during the onslaught of the typhoon in November 2013.

But Robredo, widow of the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, said she “deliberately chose to ignore” the President’s flirtatious comments.

“Yesterday, our concerns were significant – the 3rd year commemoration of Typhoon Yolanda, the survivors and their challenges on permanent housing, and the Supreme Court decision on the burial of former President Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani,” Robredo said in a statement.

“When President Duterte made inappropriate remarks, I deliberately chose to ignore these. There are larger and more urgent issues we confront as a nation that demand our collective attention,” Robredo said.

“But many were bothered and offended by it. As we all rightly should. Tasteless remarks and inappropriate advances against women should have no place in our society. We should expect that most of all from our leaders,” she said.

READ: Robredo on flirtatious Duterte: I’m used to being his ‘pulutan’

Robredo, who once worked as an alternative lawyer whose clients were mainly victims of human rights abuses and women, said her commitment in fighting for women’s rights will remain steadfast.

“I have spent many years as an alternative lawyer fighting for the rights of women, myself included. That commitment will never waver,” she said.

The Vice President said she would rather focus on fulfilling her mandate of finding ways to alleviate poverty and build homes for the people.

“This episode only strengthens my resolve to fulfill my mandate as the duly elected VP, who is determined to help alleviate poverty through building homes and communities. My mission of building partnerships to uplift the lives of the Filipino family will continue with renewed vigor,” Robredo said.

After the event in Tacloban City, Robredo said in an ambush interview that she has gotten used to the jokes of the President, especially that the latter would often tease her even during formal events.

“Actually nasasanay na ako kay Presidente parati akong nagiging pulutan. Gaya ng sabi niya, parang ano iyon—pabirong pagsabi. Ano naman, medyo nasasanay na ako kay Presidente,” Robredo said in an ambush interview in Tacloban City on Tuesday.

Duterte said he would notice Robredo’s legs whenever she wears short skirts, even suggesting that seeing them was “a view.”

“You know Ma’am Leni would always wear skirts which are shorter than usual. At one time, Dominguez asked me come closer because I was far from them. But I told him, ‘Come here. Look at (Robredo’s) knees,’” he said as he looked at Robredo.

“Maybe she noticed (that I was looking at her). I wanted to tell her, ‘Ma’am maybe next time you just wear shorts’… But after our third meeting, she was already there at the far end of the table. I lost the view during the Cabinet meeting,” he continued.

Duterte then sang a line from Anthony Castelo’s song “Malayo Ang Tingin.”

The President also said he often teases Robredo during their meetings to lighten the mood. CDG

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