PHILIPPINE Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday has resigned from her cabinet post as “housing czar,” a day after being officially barred from attending cabinet meetings.
Robredo, who used to chair the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), said her resignation is effective on Monday, the first day of the working week. She was HUDCC chair for only 150 days.
“We had hoped this day would not come. 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. From the very beginning, the President and I had major differences in principles and values,” Robredo, in her resignation letter, said.
“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, extra-judicial killings, reinstating death penalty, lowering the age of criminal liability, and sexual attacks against women,” Robredo noted adding that “But we both had a mandate to serve the people. I had hoped that this shared commitment to the poor and marginalized would transcend the differences between us. So, I took the job of Housing Secretary when it was offered to me.”
As chair of HUDCC, Robredo said, the agency has had “solid accomplishments” over the past five months despite all the obstacles thrown in its way which include a P19 billion budget cut for all key shelter agencies and inaction on appointment recommendations and other measures to make the agency effective.
“Then, we received a text message last Saturday from Cabinet Secretary Jun Evasco, Jr., relaying the President’s instruction through Bong Go for me “to desist from attending all Cabinet meetings starting this Monday, December 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 on Monday, December 5, 2016,” the vice president explained.
She added, however, that despite her resignation from the Duterte’s cabinet post, she “will continue to support the positive initiatives of this administration and oppose those that are inimical to the people’s interest.”
Furthermore, Robredo stressed that she “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.”
Robredo won over former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in the last presidential election with a margin of just over 200,000 votes prompting the latter to file an electoral protest.
Meanwhile, in an interview over radio station dzMM, Evasco said that while Robredo was asked to desist from attending the Cabinet meetings, there was “no instruction for her to be terminated from her position.”
When told that Robredo has resigned, Evasco said “If that’s the case, we will be constrained to look for somebody who will handle HUDCC.”
At the same time, he clarified that the President’s order for Robredo to stay away from the Cabinet meetings had nothing to do with the electoral protest filed by Marcos Jr.
“There was no mention of that,” Evasco said.
On Oct. 20, during his state visit to China, President Rodrigo Duterte brought up the possibility that “if [Bongbong] wins in his protest, he could be our Vice President.”
Robredo is the second high profile resignation to shake the Duterte administration. Early this week, the country’s chief historian, Maria Serena Diokno, resigned from her post in protest of the decision by Pres. Duterte to allow the burial of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.