Sara Duterte

VP Sara Duterte resigns as DepEd secretary

Dwight de Leon

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VP Sara Duterte resigns as DepEd secretary

VEEP. Vice President Sara Duterte announces her resignation as education secretary during a press conference on June 19, 2024.

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(2nd UPDATE) Vice President Sara Duterte does not give a reason for her resignation from President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s Cabinet, but Malacañang says Marcos has accepted her decision to quit

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Sara Duterte quit President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s Cabinet, putting the final nail in the coffin of the Uniteam political alliance that won the 2022 elections in a landslide. 

VP Sara Duterte resigns as DepEd secretary

Presidential Communications Office Secretary Cheloy Garafil said on Wednesday, June 19, that Duterte resigned as Department of Education (DepEd) secretary and vice chairperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict at 2:21 pm the same day.

Marcos has accepted the resignation. 

“She declined to give a reason why. She will continue to serve as Vice President. We thank her for her service,” Garafil added.

In a press conference after her resignation, Duterte also did not provide a reason for her exit from the Marcos Cabinet, but said the move is not a sign of weakness.

Mga kababayan, ang aking pagbibitiw ay hindi lulan ng kahinaan kundi dala ng tunay na malasakit para sa ating mga guro at kabataang Pilipino (My resignation is not from a place of weakness, but is brought about by my genuine concern for teachers and the Filipino youth),” Duterte said.

VP Sara Duterte resigns as DepEd secretary

The DepEd had sent out an invitation to the media for a press briefing a day earlier on Tuesday, June 18, and said in the advisory that it was on the “DepEd’s upcoming events” with DepEd Undersecretary Michael Poa presiding. The advisory also did not include Duterte’s name.

On the day itself, while reporters were waiting for the presser to start, the table bearing Poa’s name plate in front of the press conference venue was replaced with Duterte’s podium. This signaled Duterte’s presence at the press briefing – an unusual turn of events as she had never done a press briefing with the media since she became education secretary. She did not take questions after she read her prepared statement.

Malacañang released the announcement on Duterte’s resignation 15 minutes before the scheduled DepEd press conference.

The Marcoses and the Dutertes – two major political families in the Philippines – teamed up in the 2022 polls, a partnership that catapulted the dictator’s son and the outgoing president’s daughter to the country’s two highest posts. 

It was, according to analysts, a “marriage of convenience” that has been difficult to maintain.

The Vice President has a feud with the President’s cousin, Speaker Martin Romualdez, reflected by the House of Representatives’ move to deny Duterte’s request for confidential funds in the 2024 budget. 

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LOOK: VP Sara Duterte’s resignation letter as DepEd secretary, NTF-ELCAC vice chairperson

LOOK: VP Sara Duterte’s resignation letter as DepEd secretary, NTF-ELCAC vice chairperson

Marcos also once said his government was studying the possibility of rejoining the International Criminal Court, which is investigating Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody drug war. He had also said, however, that his government will not recognize ICC jurisdiction over the Philippines.

In January, former president Duterte accused Marcos of taking illegal drugs, a claim that the latter laughed off and attributed to his predecessor’s continued fentanyl use.

In April, First Lady Liza Araneta Marcos confirmed she was not on good terms with the Vice President, and said she was offended when she saw Sara laugh at her father’s insinuation that Marcos was under the influence. – with reports from Bonz Magsambol/Rappler.com

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Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the Malacañang, and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.