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'Great loss': Lawmakers react to Robredo resignation from Cabinet

MANILA, Philippines – Several lawmakers expressed support for Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday, December 4, after she announced her decision to quit as President Rodrigo Duterte's housing czar.

Robredo said she failed to get support for housing initiatives, and it was "the last straw" when Duterte ordered her to stop attending Cabinet meetings starting Monday, December 5.

Both Robredo and Malacañang officials also cited "differences" between the President and the Vice President.

While she is stepping down as housing czar, Robredo vowed that she would "not allow the Vice Presidency to be stolen," amid an alleged plot to oust her. (READ: Full text of Robredo's statement)

Below are the reactions of several lawmakers to Robredo's resignation from the Duterte Cabinet. This page will be updated as more statements come in.

Senator Francis Pangilinan:

We are saddened by this latest development. We believe the Vice President should have been treated with greater respect. Nakakalungkot ang mga pangyayari. Hindi sana nauwi sa ganitong hidwaan kung binigyan ng kaukulang respeto at sapat na pagkilala ng Administrasyon ang Pangalawang Pangulo.

Sinusuportahan natin ang kanyang pasya matapos sabihan na huwag nang dumalo sa Cabinet meetings. Katulad niya, tayo ay hindi pabor sa paglagak ng mga labi ng isang diktador sa Libingan ng mga Bayani, sa pagbalik ng death penalty, sa pagkulong sa mga batang nagkakasala kasama ang mga matatanda, at sa pambabastos sa kababaihan.

Dagdag pa rito, ang pagkaltas ng P19 billion sa budget ng housing ay direktang makakaapekto sa programa ng pabahay lalo na para sa kapos-palad nating mga kababayan.

Ngayon, mas kailangan natin ang suporta ng mga nagmamahal sa ating demokrasya. Umaandar ang mga pwersang gustong ibalik ang mga Marcos sa kapangyarihan. Hindi natin ito papayagan.

Defend Leni, defend democracy.

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV:

The resignation of VP Robredo from the Cabinet was bound to happen, and I'm so glad it happened sooner than later. Otherwise, she would have been tainted by the Duterte administration's politics of death, divisiveness, deceit, and impunity.

Senator Risa Hontiveros:

I fully support Vice President Leni Robredo's decision to resign from President Rodrigo Duterte's cabinet. It was an abusive and toxic relationship, after all. 

From the start, Vice President Robredo was not given enough support to fully exercise her task as the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) chairperson. As if by design, she was intended to fail. Worse, as a woman, she was disrespected and objectified on many occasions, by no less than the President himself. Her way of dressing was made object of sexist remarks, she was subjected to inappropriate advances and was even reduced to well-rounded knees. 

Even the manner of how the Vice President was ordered not to attend future Cabinet meetings was intolerably disrespectful of the position she holds. It was cavalier and reeked of machismo. It was meant to denigrate Vice President Robredo one last time. It was meant to show that she is unworthy of the chief executive's time and any serious consideration.

Of course President Duterte has all the right to remove people from his Cabinet whom he thinks are incapable of implementing his brand of governance. The President and Vice President's "irreconcilable differences" are plain enough. 

Yet, while others were removed for their inadequacies, Vice President Robredo was barred from future Cabinet meetings because she dared oppose the burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani, extrajudicial killings, reimposition of death penalty, lowering the age of criminal liability, and misogynistic attacks against women. She was punished for doing the right things. 

I also worry that a Cabinet where a healthy divergence of opinion is not allowed is just an old boys’ club. This demonstrates once more President Duterte's intolerance for dissent. 

I stand with Vice President Robredo in her fight to defend human rights, freedom, and democracy. I also join her in safeguarding the will of the people from dark forces that want to steal the Vice Presidency, rewrite history and restore a corrupt and authoritarian past. 

I am confident that the public is behind the Vice President, too. The people will more than make up for the support President Duterte and his Cabinet failed to give her. Vice President Robredo has fallen from the Cabinet into the arms of the people. 

Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV:

We fully support the Vice President's decision to leave the Cabinet.

The welfare of the Filipino people was always VP Leni's priority, from her campaign to her victory and upon taking on the job of Housing Secretary.

But how can she effectively serve in a Cabinet where she is treated poorly, unsupported and even disrespected? How can she serve in a Cabinet that bars her from attending regular meetings?

Under these circumstances, the Vice President has bravely chosen to serve our people outside of the Cabinet.

Now, more than ever, she needs our support to fulfill her mission of uplifting the lives of our countrymen in the fringes of our society.

Dinagat Islands Representative Kaka Bag-ao:

I fully support Vice President Leni Robredo in her decision to resign from the Cabinet. This is yet another proof of her consistency with the principles she has shown long before being elected into public office. I am one with her in fighting against the restoration of death penalty, the lowering of the minimum age of criminal responsibility, the attacks against women, and not only the burial of a dictator in the resting place of heroes, but the attempt of the Marcoses to revise history and erase their wrongdoings. She was the last woman standing in the elections, but she is the first to truly fight for what is just and what is right in the Executive branch. Naniniwala ako sa sinasabi niya parati na sa huli, ang tama ang mananaig.

Akbayan Representative Tom Villarin:

It is a big disappointment for our country and people that President Duterte has to treat VP Leni Robredo in such manner. Her resignation is a great loss especially that only a few good men and women are serving this administration. The President's loss is the people's gain as she can be more with those in the laylayan ng lipunan.