MANILA, Philippines—Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo released a statement on Sunday where she indicated her plan to resign from President Rodrigo Duterte’s cabinet on December 5, Monday.
Robredo was appointed by Duterte as the head of Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) in July.
The Vice-President opened her Sunday statement on what she called “a plot to steal the Vice Presidency.”
“I 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,” the statement read.
Despite the major differences between Robredo and Duterte’s opinion on social issues, policies, and the justice system, Robredo said that she accepted the cabinet position offered to her by Duterte in able to fulfill the “mandate to serve the people.”
“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,” Robredo said.
In just five months of serving as head of HUDCC, Robredo said that they have made “solid accomplishments” in the agency despite the “obstacles” thrown her way.
According to Robredo, the budget for all key shelter agencies in 2017 were cut by P19 million. All appointment recommendations for these agencies were also snubbed by the administration. In addition, an Executive Order that seeks to make HUDCC effective was not signed.
Robredo further stated that she received a text message from Cabinet Secretary Jun Evasco, Jr. who relayed an instruction from Duterte through Bong Go, Head of the Presidential Management Staff, where she was told “to desist from attending all Cabinet meetings starting this Monday, December 5.”
“This is the last straw, because it makes it impossible for me to perform my duties,” Robredo said.
This text message prompted the Vice President to resign from the Cabinet.
“I am tendering my resignation from the Cabinet on Monday, December 5, 2016. 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,” the statement read.
“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,” Robredo added.
Cabinet Secretary Jun Evasco, Jr. confirmed on Sunday that Robredo was told to refrain from attending cabinet meetings starting Monday. Evasco said that the instruction was due to “irreconcilable differences.”
Evasco also stressed that Robredo, however, was not told to resign.
“There was no instruction for her to be terminated in her position. Whatever decision she would take in the future, it will be her prerogative,” Evasco was quoted as saying in an Inquirer.net report.