SENATOR Antonio Trillanes IV is “making up a story” on President Rodrigo Duterte’s dinner invite to Vice President Leni Robredo, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said on Monday.
Panelo’s statement came after Trillanes, a critic of Duterte, claimed that the Chief Executive had invited Robredo to a dinner “to disarm and politically neutralize her.”
Panelo said Duterte’s initiative to break bread with Robredo is a “good” gesture to create a strong bond among government officials.
“That’s not surprising — the invitation [of Duterte to Robredo]. Trillanes is just making up a story, intriguing again,” Panelo said in a radio interview.
“His invitation to a fellow government [official] is a good [sign]. It is not an ordinary [gesture] to invite someone you know, or even someone you do not know, so you will build a stronger relationship [with them],” he added.
Malacañang had confirmed that Duterte, during the March 24 commencement exercises of Philippine National Police Academy Masidlak Class, invited Robredo and her three children to dinner together with his family.
The dinner invitation came amid the impeachment complaint lodged against Duterte at the House of Representatives.
The President earlier believed that Robredo, who released a video lambasting his drug war, may be involved in the filing of impeachment case against him.
Due to recent developments, the President had called on the public to stop moves to impeach elected officials like him and Robredo and just give them the opportunity to fulfill their electoral mandate to serve the people.
Trillanes, however, had insisted that Duterte’s dinner invitation to Robredo is a political trap to “disarm” and “neutralize” her at the time the country’s highest official is “facing the biggest political storm yet of his term as president.”
“Let me remind everyone that it is the same tactic Duterte used early on during his term wherein he belatedly offered a cabinet post to her then made fun of her through his misogynistic remarks about her legs and knees,” Trillanes said in a recent statement.
“Vice President Leni wasn’t even given the latitude to appoint her own people within her department. Then when it was politically convenient, Duterte unceremoniously kicked her out of the cabinet. Now, he’s at it again. Only the naive would be fooled,” he added. (SunStar Philippines)