President Rodrigo Duterte is a believer of lies, Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo said on Tuesday.
Robredo issued the statement in connection with remarks made by the President last week after he earlier barred Robredo from attending Cabinet meetings as the chief of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) for participating in protest actions against the hero’s burial for former president Ferdinand Marcos.
The Vice President, however, did not attend the last three huge rallies against the hero’s burial for the country’s former leader.
“I did not join any rally and it is a fact. I recall at least two rallies [against the burial], but I did not join those. I was invited to join because the main subject is the position against the hero’s burial for Marcos. While I was vocal about my opposition to it, I deliberately did not join rallies in deference to the President because I am a member of his Cabinet,” Robredo said in Filipino in a chance interview in her home province of Camarines Sur where she visited Typhoon Nina victims.
Marcos’ martial law regime supposedly left at least 70,000 victims of torture, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings from 1972 to 1986.
“It’s just sad that he believed those lies [that I joined the rallies against Marcos and called for his ouster]because the public knows that such claims are false. They are people in position, and they supervise all the intelligence agencies. It is so simple. They could easily verify such claims. Why would they believe lies, instead?” Robredo, a lawyer, said.
The Vice President was barred from attending Cabinet meetings “until further notice” by Cabinet Secretary Jun Evasco on orders of President Duterte last December 2.
Robredo tried to reach out to Duterte for clarification thru Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go but she did not get a response.
She eventually decided to quit her HUDCC post on December 4, 2016.
“I tried to reach out to him [President] at the time because I didn’t know why I was being barred from Cabinet meetings. If I reach out again now, it would be pointless. As far as I am concerned, I will do my best to be of help but I won’t force myself to be a part of the Cabinet,” Robredo said.
“A Cabinet post is a position of confidence. The President needs to completely trust me. But since the President believes lies, it shows that his level of trust in me is so low,” she added.