Duterte, Robredo Inauguration 2016: summary, quick facts, analysis

MANILA, Philippines - In a modest ceremony signifying another successful transition of power, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo formally took over the helm of running the entire Philippines on Thursday, June 30.

Duterte, Robredo Inauguration 2016
THE INAUGURATION. President Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo promise real change. Photo Credit: Instagram/Martin Andanar and Facebook/Leni Robredo
Check out on this page the inauguration summary, quick facts and post analysis: 

At around 10:25, a formal-looking and calm Duterte set foot on the grounds of Malacañan and signed up in the guest list of the Palace, his last before assuming the presidency. Duterte entered the palace using the side entrance, also known as the "presidential stairs" as it is the main route being frequented by his now predecessor, former President Benigno Aquino III due to its close proximity to his work station. From there, Duterte was warmly received by Aquino at the President’s hall and had a closed-door meeting that transpired for approximately 20 minutes before the two men went down to the grounds, for the departure honors prepared for Aquino.

Transfer of power: Both Aquino and Duterte are undergoing through their respective transitions
Transfer of power: Both Aquino and Duterte are undergoing through their respective transitions. Photo credit: The Philippine Star Online
At exactly 11:01 A.M., the departure honors for Aquino was executed and Aquino left the Malacañan as citizen Noynoy at 11:09 A.M. with his escorts going back to Times Street, Quezon City. The departure honors lasted only for eight minutes and 16 seconds with a 21-gun salute. Upon Aquino's departure, Duterte immediately went back inside the palace to do some last minute preparations before facing the crowd waiting at the Rizal Hall.

Meet the new first family
Meet the new first family: (From left to right) Sebastian, Veronica, Rodrigo, Sara and Paolo. Source: EDP Malacañan
The program began at around 11:32 A.M. with the singing of the national anthem and an ecumenical service administered by religious leaders from different faiths in the country. It was followed by a song number performed by Freddie Aguilar, an ardent supporter of Duterte during his campaign.

Outgoing Senate President Franklin Drilon then graced the platform to read again the official proclamation of the May 9 elections which sealed the victories of Robredo and Duterte as duly elected officials of the two highest positions in the land.

After a short break, President Duterte's children were called on stage. All the Duterte siblings were present with the youngest Veronica as the bible bearer and at exactly 12:00 P.M., Rody Duterte has been made as the 16th president of the republic upon taking oath administered by Associate Justice Bienvenido Reyes of the Supreme Court of the Philippines. It was followed by a 21-gun salute before the new commander-in-chief addressed the 600-crowd inside the hall composed of his cabinet members, friends, family, supporters and foreign dignitaries.

Duterte continues to break the norms

Contrary again to traditions, Duterte chose Reyes, his fellow brother in the fraternity to administer his oath instead of facing the current chief justice. It can be remembered that Aquino also did the same by having his to be done by now Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales instead of the late Renato Corona. The two women in his life, Cielito “Honeylet” Avancena and Elizabeth Zimmerman were out of stage also to avoid any complications. His daughter Sara was the designated person to take the role as first lady in the next six years.

Duterte taking his oath as 16th president of the republic
Duterte taking his oath as 16th president of the republic with his children behind. Source: Malacañan Photo Bureau
Instead of the usual venue which is the Quirino Grandstand, Duterte opted to have his inauguration inside the Rizal Hall in Malacañan, the first exactly after 30 years, were the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos also held his inauguration before he fell from power. Duterte is the second person to have done so.

READ: Duterte takes oath as PH’s 16th President

It can be noted also that Duterte wore a small pin bearing the Philippine flag on his collar to signify his great interest to call for a united Philippines rather than serving a particular segment of the society. This is very in contrast with the yellow ribbon pin that Aquino has been wearing over the past six years which is associated by his adherence to the legacy of his parents and the Liberal Party to which he is the current chairman as well.

Duterte’s inaugural speech was also one of the shortest in the list of inaugural speeches made by the past Philippine presidents. It was only comprised with 1,335 words and ran only for 14 minutes and 46 seconds, Duterte emphasized that without the immense participation and support of the Filipino people he will not be in power and that that the people should continue doing their part in achieving the goals of his administration that is real change. Duterte also emphasized that democracy will prevail and that it cannot be manipulated by any.

The new president also highlighted again his staunch fight against criminality, drugs and corruption which he deemed as the main causes of the nation’s stagnation to poverty.

“Erosion of faith and trust in government – that is the real problem that confronts us.”

former Presidents Fidel Ramos and Joseph Estrada
With former Presidents Fidel Ramos and Joseph Estrada, Senate President Franklin Drilon and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte. Source: Malacañan Photo Bureau
Aside from extending his gratitude to his supporters and reiterating the importance of his advocacies, Duterte also underlined in his speech on why the nation remained glued to extreme poverty and chaos and that it is due because of the public’s “erosion of faith and trust in government,” indeed it was a powerful statement that clearly states the roots of everything that made the Philippines incompetent for the longest time.

“You mind your work and I will mind mine.”

Perhaps what would be the first controversial statement that Duterte blurted out as head of state is when he gave his “first order” to the Congress and Commission on Human Rights to mind each other’s works. The president took chance in defending himself regarding with his unorthodox ways of dealing with criminality.

Duterte reasoned that he saw the extreme casualties made by drug addiction and other illegal acts but reassured the public that as president, he knows the limits of his power. The statement presents some conflict with the idea that the three branches of government should not only do their job but also perform a regular check and balance among each other to ensure that power is being exercised equally and is not abused.

Anyway Duterte was able to form a supermajority bloc in the Congress so this statement may or may not prove to be detrimental to his relationship with them. As for the CHR, that is yet to be seen.

“Together, shoulder to shoulder, let us take the first wobbly steps in this quest.”

Like Robredo, Duterte’s address also called on for unity. By making a reference from National Artist F. Sionil Jose and U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, Duterte stressed out the value of working together for the common good, in rebuilding the country by establishing a shared destiny among Filipinos. While he assured the continuation of peace talks between the government and the separatists, Duterte also gave a stern warning against underperforming or corrupt government officials who will bend the stipulated practices of their organizations by discharging them from their positions once caught. He also promised to ease out the transactions being made by the public to government offices by eliminating some tedious processes which consumes the time and budget of the ordinary people.

“I have no friends to serve, I have no enemies to harm.”

Duterte inaugural speech
Presidential: Duterte delivers his inaugural address in front of 600 people inside the Rizal Hall in Malacañan. Source: Malacañan Photo Bureau
In another attempt to channel the old Digong in him, the president who is known for his antics broke the seriousness of the event by making an adlib at the end of his speech wherein he delivered what could probably his best known statement that will define his presidency which is “I have no friends to serve, I have no enemies to harm” which signifies his great interest to begin the healing process alongside with his invitation to join hand in hand in propelling the Philippines towards greatness. In that statement full of gravitas, Duterte presented the new face of governance which sits on the value of equality, promotion of social justice, adherence to the law and promotion of the general welfare of the Filipinos.

Robredo also calls for unity, promises to empower the poor

Due to Duterte’s request of having a separate inauguration from his vice president, Robredo’s camp also held a simple inauguration event at the Quezon City Reception House which will be the official workplace of the Office of the Vice President.

Like her main boss, Robredo also promised change and unity but what might differentiate her style of leadership compared to Duterte is her pledge to combat poverty by empowering the smallest unit of the community which is the barangay through various forms of assistance and programs.

Robredo takes oath in front of Barangay Captain Ronaldo Coner
Robredo takes oath in front of Barangay Captain Ronaldo Coner of Punta Tarawal, Calabanga, Camarines Sur. Source: NPPA Images
Although Robredo isn’t keen to run for presidency come 2022, political analysts are seeing that Robredo’s programs are on the right track. Her strong relationship with the members of the grassroots sector plus her proposed programs will allow her to wield a strong influence that will creep into the smallest and farthest communities, an essential ingredient that is needed to mount a successful bid to the presidency.

Leni Robredo assumes office, vows to continue ‘tsinelas’ leadership

The two leaders are set to meet anytime soon. It was reported that Duterte and Robredo were supposed to have a meeting prior to their inauguration but was cancelled due to a scheduled trip of the vice president to Japan.

Regardless on whether Duterte will offer a cabinet post for Robredo, the latter assured the public that her office will be open to everyone and even promised to bring it closer to the communities by visiting the poorest and farthest communities during her 100 days which is seen to be the counterpart of Duterte’s promise to eradicate drugs and criminality in the next three to six months.

--Michael Santiago, The Summit Express

Previous Post Next Post