MANILA, Philippines – Though President Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo have opposing views on a number of issues, Robredo believes it was her condemnation of Ferdinand Marcos’ burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani that was the clincher that made Duterte distance himself from her.
Duterte, through a text message sent by Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr, had ordered Robredo to stop attending Cabinet meetings. This was “the last straw” for Robredo, who then resigned as housing czar on Monday, December 5, as she got the impression that she was already being “eased out” of the Cabinet.
Last month, Robredo had condemned the hero’s burial for Marcos, which was ordered by Duterte. The President is close to the Marcos family, including the late dictator’s son and namesake, Ferdinand Marcos Jr, who lost to Robredo in the elections by a slim margin and is contesting her win. (READ: Marcos camp: Robredo stole vice presidency)
“There have been many times that I have expressed my views – on extrajudicial killings, on the death penalty, Marcos burial. And always during Cabinet meetings I will tell the President that, ‘Thank you, Mr President, kahit po (even if) I’m very vocal about the opposition to certain policies you have not taken it against me,'” Robredo said.
“‘Yung pinakamatindi ito talaga, Marcos burial. Ito talaga ‘yung pinakamatindi. Ito ‘yung pinakahuling statement na ‘binigay ko. And after I issued that statement hindi pa ulit kami nagkakausap.”
(It’s really our biggest difference – the Marcos burial. It’s the biggest. It was also the last statement I gave. And after I issued that statement we haven’t had the chance to talk again.)
Robredo, however, recalled that when she first expressed her opposition to the Marcos burial earlier on, Duterte told her not to worry about their clashing views.
“I was even assured by the President na, ‘wag ka mag-alala niyan, ‘wag mong alalahanin (don’t worry about it).”
But given the latest developments, Robredo maintained she is even more convinced that there is a plot to unseat her and propel former senator Marcos to power.
The Vice President again recalled receiving warnings that she was not welcome in the Cabinet, but said she just focused on doing her job.
“Marami nag-wa-warn (Many people were warning me) that there were people around the President, even people in the Cabinet who did not want me there, and wanted Bongbong Marcos instead,” said Robredo.
“Ang kasama ni Presidente sa China si Bongbong Marcos. Siya ‘yung ‘pinakilalang vice president, pero ‘yung sa ‘kin lahat ko ‘yun nilunok kasi ‘yung sa ‘kin meron akong trabahong gagampanan,” she added.
(It was Bongbong Marcos who accompanied the President during his recent state visit to China. He was the one introduced as the vice president, but I just put up with that and all the other obstacles because I have a job to do.)
But what seemed to be a giveaway, Robredo said, was Evasco’s text message. The Vice President said less than 10 people from her camp knew about it, but pro-Marcos groups were already saying “farewell” to her online.
“Kahit nanay ko hindi alam. Pero may mga tweets na from the Bongbong Marcos groups na nag-goo-good-bye na sa ‘kin. Ano ibig sabihin noon?” she said.
(Even my mother didn’t know about the text message. But there were already tweets from pro-Bongbong Marcos groups saying good-bye to me. What’s that supposed to mean?)
“It only confirms what we have been warned about for so long.” (READ: Robredo: Not a time for fear, but a time for courage) – Rappler.com