Robredo accepts Duterte's offer to be housing chief

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Vice President Leni Robredo has accepted President Rodrigo Duterte's offer for her to head the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC).

"Nagpapasalamat tayo kay Presidente Rodrigo Duterte na itinalaga tayo bilang Tagapangulo ng Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council," Robredo said in a statement shortly after Malacañang made the announcement.

(We are grateful to President Rodrigo Duterte for appointing me as the head of the HUDCC.) 

"Mas mapaglilingkuran natin ang ating mga kababayang walang tahanan, at maipagpapatuloy natin ang ating pangakong itulak ang kaunlaran at kaginhawaan para sa ating mga kapus palad na kababayan," she added. 

(We can now serve our homeless countrymen better, and we will be able to fulfill our promise to push for the development and provide comfort to poor fellow Filipinos.) 

The HUDCC was the same agency headed by Robredo's predecessors, former Vice President Jejomar Binay and Noli de Castro. 

Duterte offered the position to the Vice President days after Robredo paid him a courtesy visit in Malacañang on Monday, July 4. (READ: Hello, Leni? How Duterte made the Cabinet offer to VP Robredo)

Robredo was asked to join Duterte’s Cabinet meeting on Monday, July 11, according to Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II.

During the visit, Robredo said that the President asked her to support him in leading the country. The President also told her to visit as often in the Palace since she is part of his administration.

Senator Benigno Aquino IV, who was Robredo's campaign manager, welcomed the Cabinet position for the Vice President.

"Ang posisyong ito ay akma sa malawak na karanasan ni VP Robredo sa pagtatrabaho kasama ang mahihirap, lalo na iyong walang masisilungan," Aquino said in a statement.

(This position fits VP Robredo's extensive experience in working with the poor, especially those who don't have shelter.)

"Umaasa tayo na ang pagtalaga kay VP Robredo sa isang mahalagang posisyon sa pamahalaan ay hudyat ng umpisa ng matibay na ugnayan at pagtutulungan ng dalawang pinakamataas na lider ng bansa para sa kapakanan ng mahihirap," he added.

(We are hoping that the appointment of VP Robredo to an important position in government is a sign that the two highest officials of the land have started a strong cooperation for the sake of the poor.)

Prior to their formal meeting, Duterte and Robredo met for the first time during the turnover ceremony of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Robredo described their first encounter as “cordial.” She also said at the time that she expected a snub from the President due to the tense situation between them. 

The President had been non-committal in giving Robredo a Cabinet position because he didn't want to hurt the feelings of his friend, Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

Marcos, whom Duterte considers a friend, lost to Robredo by a slim margin of 263,473 votes.

The son and namesake of the late dictator President Ferdinand Marcos has since accused the ruling Liberal Party, Robredo's party, of cheating. Last week, Marcos filed an electoral protest before the Supreme Court acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET).  

Marcos was present at Duterte’s inauguration in Malacañang on June 30, held separately from Robredos’. It was a first in the country’s history for the vice president and the president to be sworn in separate ceremonies. Robredo took her oath at the Quezon City Reception House, the new home of the Office of the Vice President. – Rappler.com 

Patty Pasion

Patty leads the Rappler+ membership program. She used to be a Rappler multimedia reporter who covered politics, labor, and development issues of vulnerable sectors.

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