MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – President Rodrigo Duterte has accepted the resignation of Vice President Leni Robredo from the Cabinet.
Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, in a message to reporters, said Duterte had accepted during the Cabinet meeting on Monday, December 5, Robredo’s resignation as chairperson of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC).
According to Andanar, Duterte had told him, “It is with a heavy heart that I accept the resignation of Vice President Leni Robredo.”
According to Andanar, Duterte also appointed Cabinet Secretary Leoncio “Jun” Evasco Jr to head HUDCC. “This is on top of Sec Evasco’s current job responsibilities,” Andanar said.
Evasco, trusted man of Duterte, is also behind the organization of Kilusang Pagbabago, a nationwide mass movement that appears to aspire to form a critical mass that will protect the President as he pursues radical reforms.
Evasco, through a statement from Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella, explained the President’s decision to accept Robredo’s resignation.
He said Cabinet members are expected to accept their appointment “with the implicit agreement that they agree with his program, platform, and policies.”
“While there may be matters they take issue with, these are to be handled consensually because it is vital for the Cabinet to be united,” Evasco added.
He said Cabinet members are supposed to express their views “discreetly and not be adversarial publicly.”
Earlier that day, Robredo tendered her resignation after receiving a text message from Evasco that Duterte wanted her to desist from attending Cabinet meetings starting December 5.
The Palace said this was due to “irreconcilable differences” between the two highest officials of the land.
In her statement released Sunday, December 4, Robredo said she and Duterte have “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 death penalty, lowering the age of criminal liability, and sexual attacks against women,” the Vice President said. – Rappler.com