‘Irreconcilable differences’: Duterte orders Leni to stop attending Cabinet meetings

Dec. 05, 2016
NOT HELPING. Rep. Leni Robredo, Liberal Party vice presidentiable wants the word war stopped between Presidentiable aspirants Mayor Rody Duterte and Mar Roxas "because it is not helping at all". She suggests to elevate their tiff to a level of discussing issues. (Ace R. Morandante/davaotoday.com)

VICE PRESIDENT Leni Robredo, will not be attending Cabinet meetings anymore after she resigned as chair of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUCC) on Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. (davaotoday.com file photo)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The instruction of President Rodrigo Duterte for Vice President Leni Robredo to stop attending all Cabinet meetings starting Monday was the last straw that made Robredo resign as housing czar.

Robredo resigned as the chair of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) on Sunday after her camp received a text message last Saturday from Cabinet Secretary Jun Evasco, Jr., who relayed a message from Duterte “to desist from attending all Cabinet meetings starting this Monday, December 5.” The message was coursed through the President’s special assistant, Christopher “Bong” Go.

“This is the last straw, because it makes it impossible for me to perform my duties. Hence, I am tendering my resignation from the Cabinet on Monday, December 5, 2016,” Robredo said in a statement on Sunday.

‘Irreconcilable differences’

A statement from Malacanang said “recent events showed the differences between the President and the Vice President as becoming irreconcilable and public.”

“A member of the Cabinet enjoys the full trust and confidence of the President for he or she acts as the President’s alter ego. Having said this, the President entrusted the Vice President, whom we all know came from a rival political party, a position in his official family in deference to the wishes of our people who want both leaders to work together and succeed,” said a statement from the Office of the Communications Secretary.

It said that as a Cabinet member, Robredo is expected to be “a team player.”

“The Vice President has served our people for many years in various capacities and we wish her to continue this unhampered service to the nation to the best of her abilities,” it added.

The Palace has not yet received Robredo’s letter of resignation.

‘Plot to steal VP post’

But Robredo said she was warned of a plot to steal the Vice Presidential post.

“I have chosen to ignore this and focus on the job at hand. But the events of recent days indicate that this plot is now being set into motion,” she said.

Robredo said she is aware that she and Duterte had major differences. Robredo has expressed opposition to the burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. She was also vocal against the issue of extra-judicial killings, reinstating death penalty, lowering the age of criminal liability, and sexual attacks against women.

However, Robredo said she had hoped their differences would be surpassed by their “shared commitment to the poor and marginalized” prompting her to take the Cabinet post offered by Duterte.

“In barely five months, we have solid accomplishments in HUDCC,” she said, adding that they faced many challenges. Robredo said the budget for all key shelter agencies in 2017 has been slashed by more than P19 billion.

She added that their appointment recommendations have not been acted on and the Executive Order “designed to make HUDCC effective” was not signed.

Despite her resignation from HUDCC, Robredo said she will continue to support positive initiatives of the Duterte administration.

“However, as your duly elected Vice President, I will not allow the Vice Presidency to be stolen. I will not allow the will of the people to be thwarted. I will continue to serve the Filipino family and fulfill their dream for a better life,” she said.

Robredo won the vice presidential race with 14,418, 817 votes with 263,473 margin against her closest rival, Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

She took oath as the head of the HUDCC on July 12. (davaotoday.com)

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