MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo has announced her resignation as member of the Cabinet after being told to desist from attending official meetings.
Robredo currently heads the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC).
“We received a text message last Saturday from Cabinet Secretary Jun Evasco, Jr., relaying the President’s instruction through Bong Go for me ‘to desist from attending all Cabinet meetings starting this Monday, December 5’,” Robredo said in a statement.
Image of the text message shared on social media attributed to former Akbayan Rep. Barry Gutierrez
“This is the last straw, because it makes it impossible for me to perform my duties. Hence, I am tendering my resignation from the Cabinet on Monday, December 5, 2016,” she said.
“With this resignation, you can expect that I will continue to support the positive initiatives of this administration and oppose those that are inimical to the people’s interest,” she added.
Earlier, she pointed out that, despite the accomplishments of the HUDCC, the budget for all key shelter agencies in 2017 has been slashed by more than P19 billion.
Robredo also said that all key shelter agency appointment recommendations have not been acted on. The Executive Order designed to make HUDCC more operationally effective was also not signed.
Twitter post by the Vice President.
“However, as your duly elected Vice President, I will not allow the Vice Presidency to be stolen. I will not allow the will of the people to be thwarted. I will continue to serve the Filipino family and fulfill their dream for a better life,” she said.
Robredo said she had been warned of a “plot to steal the Vice Presidency.”
“I have chosen to ignore this and focus on the job at hand. But the events of recent days indicate that this plot is now being set into motion,” she said.
From the beginning, Robredo said she had differences in principles and values with President Rodrigo Duterte.
“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, extra-judicial killings, reinstating death penalty, lowering the age of criminal liability, and sexual attacks against women,” she said.
“But we both had a mandate to serve the people. I had hoped that this shared commitment to the poor and marginalized would transcend the differences between us. So, I took the job of Housing Secretary when it was offered to me,” she added.
Robredo is facing an electoral protest before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) filed by her closest rival, former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., whom she defeated by over 200,000 votes in the May 2016 elections.
Last week, her camp expressed alarm over alleged plans to recount ballots without the permission of the PET. They warned that it received information that the recount of ballots from four to five provinces could lead to the reversal of the results of the vice presidential race and install Marcos as the new Vice President.
On November 8, the Supreme Court, with a 9-5 vote, released a decision that allowed the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. The burial had the go-signal of Duterte, who counts the Marcoses as among his allies.
Then, 10 days later on November 18, Marcos’s remains were brought to the national heroes’ cemetery in what many described as a sneaky burial that sparked off protests nationwide.
While she did not join the protest activities, Robredo issued a strongly worded statement against the burial.