Despite warning, Robredo accepts Duterte's dinner invite

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The President and VP graced the PNPA commencement exercises.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 28) — Vice President Leni Robredo confirms she has accepted President Rodrigo Duterte's invitation to sit down and have dinner with him and his family.

In an ambush interview in Quezon City on Tuesday, Robredo said this was among the topics she and Duterte discussed when they attended the national police's graduation rites last Friday.

She said Duterte extended the invitation when she was about to leave the event.

"Sinabi niya sa akin na, bakit hindi tayo mag-dinner. Isama ko iyong mga anak mo, sama ko din iyong pamilya ko," Robredo recounted. [He told me, why don't we have dinner. Bring your children and I'll also bring my family.]

"Sabi ko, sige po, sabihin niyo na lang po kung kailan. Tinawag niya si Sec. Bong Go. Sinabihan niya, maghanap ng date. So ako naman pag natuloy yun, pupunta ako."

[Translation: I told him to just let me know when. He called up Sec. Bong Go and told him to find a schedule for it. On my part, if it pushes through, I will be there.]

Two days ago, Sen. Antonio Trillanes had warned that the invitation was a "trap to disarm and politically neutralize" the Vice President.

Related: Trillanes: Duterte's dinner invite for Robredo a 'trap'

"VP 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," Trillanes had said.

But the Vice President said no specific date had yet been earmarked since Duterte would be staying in the meantime in Davao City. However, Interior Secretary Mike Sueno told her that it would be sometime after Holy Week.

Robredo said she would show up "anytime" the President would be available.

She added that the President also repeated that he was not in favor of impeachment moves, citing that a year had not even lapsed since the last elections and they should instead buckle down to work.

Barangay elex: Yes to postponement, no to appointment

Robredo also weighed in on talks about postponing the October village polls and appointing barangay executives instead.

She said she was amenable to moving the elections to a later date if the situation was calling for it.

However, appointing barangay officials would result in patronage politics where those taking the posts would be beholden to whoever had put them there.

"Una palakasan yun sa magrerekomenda. Parang hawak na naman sa leeg iyong ating mga kapitan. Malaki na iyong na-achieve natin in terms of independence sa barangay," Robredo said.

[Translation: It will lead to nepotism. And barangay captains will be indebted (to politicians). We have achieved a lot in term of barangay independence.]

She said that would be a step backward given that village chiefs should be apolitical.