President Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo met for the first time since the latter quit the Cabinet last year.
The two officials were “civil” during the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) meeting on Monday, Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said on Tuesday.
The President barred Robredo from attending Cabinet meetings in December, prompting her to resign as head of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council.
Abella said there was no awkward moment between the two leaders, adding that Robredo was warmly received during the meeting.
“It was warm. I mean, warm in the sense that there was an exchange,” he said.
The Vice President engaged in the discussion and shared her inputs.
However, Abella said the President again joked about Robredo’s knees.
“He made a passing reference to that. It was a humorous reference, and I think the Vice President understood the context this time,” he said.
Established during the Ramos administration, the LEDAC advises the President on programs, policies, and laws necessary to achieve the goals of the administration.
Abella said the LEDAC meeting tackled several priority bills, including those on tax reform and higher salaries for soldiers.
“Basically, it was a review of the November meeting. Well, [among the bills discussed were]the possible termination of barangay elections, salary increases of the military, incentives for retirement pay of the military, terrorism related issues, tax reforms and fiscal incentives,” he said.
Georgina Hernandez, Robredo’s spokesperson, said the vice president lobbied for her pet measures, including the Freedom of Information and Anti-Discrimination bills, during the LEDAC meeting.
“As a mandated member of LEDAC, Vice President Leni Robredo attended yesterday’s meeting to perform her legal duty to provide policy advice to the President. The Vice President assures our people that she remains fully committed to protect their interests and will continue to engage the administration on important policy issues,” Hernandez said.
“The meeting focused on determining and recommending socioeconomic development goals, as well as integrating priority legislative agenda with the national development plan,” Hernandez said.
With Llanesca T. Panti