VICE President Leni Robredo on Sunday resigned as the chairwoman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, citing the Duterte administration’s efforts to derail her efforts to function as housing czar.
Malacañang, however, said the country’s two highest elected officials have “irreconcilable differences” that prevent them from working with each other, and urged those not in favor of the President’s policies to resign from Cabinet.
“We had hoped this day would not come... I am tendering my resignation from the Cabinet on Monday, Dec. 5, 2016. With this resignation, you can expect that I will continue to support the positive initiatives of this administration and oppose those that are inimical to the people’s interest,” she said in a statement.
Robredo also expressed her dismay over the “obstacles” being thrown in her way by the Duterte administration, preventing her from functioning as a Cabinet secretary.
“One, the budget for all key shelter agencies in 2017 has been slashed by more than P19 billion. Two, all our key shelter agency appointment recommendations have not been acted on. Three, the executive order designed to make HUDCC effective was not signed,” Robredo said.
Robredo said she received a text message on Saturday from Cabinet Secretary Jun Evasco, Jr., relaying the President’s instruction through Christopher Go for her “to desist from attending all Cabinet meetings starting this Monday, Dec. 5.”
“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,” she said.
Robredo also implied that the President is supporting attempts to have the vice presidency stolen from her by supporting her rival, former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who filed a complaint before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal to contest the vice presidential race.
“I had been warned of a plot to steal the vice presidency. 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.
“From the very beginning, the President and I had major differences in principles and values. Since I assumed office, I have been consistent in my opposition to issues such as the burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani, extrajudicial killings, reinstating the death penalty, lowering the age of criminal liability, and sexual attacks against women. But we both had a mandate to serve the people,” she added.
“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 added.
Robredo’s resignation follows those of National Historical Commission of the Philippines Chairwoman Maria Sereno Diokno and NHCP Commissioner Francis Geolago, after Duterte allowed the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
In a radio interview, Evasco said he expects Robredo to lead the opposition in the Duterte administration.
Evasco also confirmed that it was Duterte’s instruction for Robredo to desist from attending Cabinet meetings, but clarified that she was not fired.
“That was the President’s instruction,” he said in Filipino. “There are irreconcilable differences.”
Evasco said all those not in favor of Duterte’s policies should resign from the administration.
“If they cannot… support what the President is doing, then they have to resign,” he said. Evasco confirmed that he sent Robredo a text message of Duterte’s instructions, after failing to reach her by phone.
“I called her up first but there was no response. Then I text her,” he said. With Sandy Araneta
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