President-elect Rodrigo Duterte said he will not be giving incoming Vice President Leni Robredo the anti-poverty portfolio in his government.
Speaking to reporters in Davao City on Thursday night, Duterte announced that he would give the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) to the Left.
“I’ll give it to the Left,” Duterte said when asked if he would heed the call of his economist that Robredo be appointed to the NAPC.
The Left, according to him, has submitted names of individuals who can lead the commission, saying he “wants to give it to a woman from the Left.”
“I have the recommendations from the Left’s side. I’ll give it to them. One of the departments that I’m willing to concede to them, the anti-poverty commission,” he added.
The NAPC is headed by the President but is managed by a lead convenor.
President Benigno Aquino 3rd had appointed a leftist, Joel Racamora, as lead convenor of the commission.
Also on Thursday, incoming National Economic and Development Authority Director-General Ernesto Pernia said he believes that Robredo, a graduate of the University of the Philippines’ School of Economics, is most suitable for the position.
“I think the most suitable [post for the Vice President-elect]might be the NAPC, National Anti-Poverty Commission. It’s still open. I’ve already suggested that to [Carlos] Dominguez, who is very close to Duterte,” Pernia said in a television interview.
Dominguez has been named Finance secretary.
Robredo, the administration Liberal Party candidate, had expressed a desire to help streamline the government’s anti-poverty efforts.
But Duterte said he is non-committal about giving Robredo a job because he does not want to hurt the feelings of his friend and political ally, Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
“There is no law which is a compelling reason for her to be a member of the Cabinet,” he explained.
Robredo won over Marcos in the vice presidential race by 263,473 votes, and Marcos has threatened to pursue legal action after his loss.
The incoming Vice President has said she will take an active role in public service, with or without a Cabinet appointment.
Duterte earlier opened his Cabinet to three other leftists–former Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano as Agrarian Reform secretary, University of the Philippines Professor Judy Taguiwalo as Social Welfare secretary and another former Anakpawis Rep. Joel Maglungsod as Labor undersecretary.
They were among those recommended by the National Democratic Front (NDF) to be members of the Duterte Cabinet.
Duterte had opened his Cabinet to the Left in a bid to pave the way for resumption of botched peace talks with the communist-led NDF.