PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has not offered Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo another Cabinet post, Malacañang said on Friday, even after she expressed “readiness” to work again with the Chief Executive.
Speaking to reporters in Paniqui, Tarlac, Palace spokesman Harry Roque said Malacañang appreciated Robredo’s openness to join the Duterte Cabite but no position was available for her at the moment.
“Hindi ko po alam na kinokonsidera siya ng presidente para sa kahit anong Cabinet position (I do not know if the President is considering her [Robredo] to offer any position in the Cabinet),” Roque said during a press conference.
“So, to the Vice President, we appreciate her readiness, pero unfortunately parang wala naman pong offer ngayon (but unfortunately, perhaps, there’s no offer now),” he added.
Robredo, in an interview aired over CNN Philippines on Thursday, said that she was ready to consider any Cabinet position from the President, on condition that she could still express dissenting views on national issues.
“Perhaps, I will tell the President that I will be very much willing to work with him. I would be very much willing to support what he’s doing. But if there are things that we don’t agree on, I have to say so. If that’s fine with him, then okay,” Robredo said.
In July 2016, Duterte tapped Robredo as chairperson of the Housing Urban and Development Coordinating Council.
Robredo, however, resigned as housing czar in December 2016 after Duterte barred her from attending Cabinet meetings.
The Vice President, who heads the former ruling Liberal Party, then noted that she and Duterte had “major differences in principles and values,” citing her opposition to issues such as the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, extrajudicial killings, reinstating the death penalty, lowering the age of criminal liability, and sexual attacks against women.
It may be recalled that Robredo, who got 14,418,817 votes in the last election, defeated former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. by a margin of 263,473.
Marcos is currently protesting the results of the 2016 election before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET).
On October 20, 2016, Duterte himself raised the possibility that “if [Bongbong] wins in his protest, he could be our vice president” during his state visit to China. CATHERINE VALENTE