Sen. Risa Hontiveros oath taking before VP Leni Robredo
Heavy hangs the head of reelectionist Sen. Risa Hontiveros, after outgoing Vice President Leni Robredo passed the baton of leading the opposition to her three days before she steps down from office.
On Monday, Robredo administered Hontiveros’ oath-taking as incoming senator for the 19th Congress, during which the latter vowed to dedicate her office for the marginalized and to “reject violence, oppression, disinformation and historical revisionism.”
Afterwards, the Vice President congratulated her “favorite senator” who was the only elected opposition senator in a possibly monolithic Congress allied with President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
“You are now our leader so please know we are always behind you, [ready] to help you if you need us,” Robredo told Hontiveros. “You are now the highest elected official in the opposition and we couldn’t be prouder that you are the one waving our flag.”
Hontiveros, for her part, vowed to “be on the front lines” of the country’s post-pandemic response and to fight to increase the budget for the agencies central to this effort.
She also vowed to champion pro-people legislation, including universal social pension for senior citizens, the drafting of a magna carta for workers in the informal and gig economy, and a separate bill for the maternal benefits of female workers in the informal and gig economy.
Most of all, Hontiveros promised to “fight back harder against rumors, lies, propaganda and fake news.”
Women rights’ champion
Hontiveros, a longtime public servant and women’s rights champion, was one of the only two public officials who took their oaths before Robredo on Monday, as she marked her 35th wedding anniversary with the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo.
The other official was reelectionist Iloilo Board Member Jason Gonzales, who was one of the first to urge Robredo to run for the presidency.
During her speech, Robredo revealed that it was actually Hontiveros who first tried to secure a united opposition before the 2022 elections.
“She had moved before I even moved,” Robredo said. “We both did not succeed on this front, but I am happy that, at least, you are there, standing strong. I know you will not leave us behind.”
Robredo is set to move out of the Quezon Reception House one day before she formally steps down from office to give way to the incoming Vice President-elect Sara Duterte’s team.