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Palace tells VP Leni: Cabinet members should not criticize the President


By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Malacañang said that if Vice President Leni Robredo is really open to return to the Cabinet of President Duterte, she should cease from calling out the country’s Chief Executive.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement after Robredo said she is not closing her doors for her to work again with the President in case he offers her another Cabinet post. However, Robredo emphasized her right to dissent on national issues that may surface.

Roque, in an interview posted over the official Facebook page of the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson, said Robredo cannot do that because she will be the alter ego of the President.

Presidential Spokesperson Atty. Harry Roque (TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential Spokesperson Atty. Harry Roque (TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“Hindi pwede batikusin ang Presidente na pumayag ka maging alter ego. Magpakatotoo tayo (You cannot criticize the President who agreed for you to be his alter ego. Let’s be real),” Roque said today.

“‘Pag tumanggap ka ng Gabineteng position, iisa lang kayo. Wala ka nang personalidad. Ikaw ay extension lamang ng Presidente (When you accept a Cabinet position, you and the President become one. You will lose your personality. You will become just an extension of the President),” he added.

According to the Palace official, if the Vice President thinks that Duterte is not fit to be a leader, she should not have accepted a Cabinet position in the first place or expressed openness to take one.

“Kung ang Presidente po hindi karapatdapat na mamuno, bakit ka pumayag na maging parte ng kanyang Gabinete? Kapag ika’y naging parte ng Gabinete kasi, alter ego ka, iisa lang kayo ng Pangulo. So kung may pagkakamali, pagkukulang ang Presidente, eh dapat hindi ka sumapi sa kanyang Gabinete (If the President is not rightful to be a leader, why would you agree to a Cabinet post? Once you become a member of the Cabinet, you become one with him. So if you think the President will have lapses, you should not have joined the Cabinet),” Roque said.

“Kung gaano kabulok sinasabi niyo ang Pangulo, ganoon din kayo kabulok dahil naging bahagi kayo ng Gabinete (If the President is as rotten as you think, then that’s you as well because you are part of the Cabinet),” he added.

Roque also claimed that Robredo’s reason for being open, again, for another Cabinet position, is her alleged hunger for power.

“Alam niyo naman talaga (You know), it’s power. It’s the desire to wield power,” he said.

But the Palace official extinguished anew Robredo’s hopes of holding another Cabinet position.

“Umasa po siya, hindi po mangyayari ‘yon. Dahil hindi naman po ata siya bibigyan ng kahit anong pwesto ng Pangulo (Let her hope, but it will not happen. Because I don’t think the President will even giver her another Cabinet seat),” Roque said.

Robredo resigned from her Cabinet post in December 2016 after she received a text message from Cabinet Secretary Jun Evasco, telling her to cease from attending Cabinet meetings.

Robredo served as HUDCC chair for five months, the same position held by her predecessors for Vice Presidents Jejomar Binay and Noli de Castro.

Eight months after her resignation, Robredo’s name was again floated after the Commission on Appointment’s (CA’s) decision to reject the confirmation of then Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo.

However, the Palace said that it would have been difficult to appoint Robredo to the said Cabinet seat given the fact that the Vice President has resigned from her previous post.

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