Panelo: Robredo’s ‘missteps’ pushed Duterte to change mind on Cabinet post offer

Robie de Guzman   •   November 19, 2019   •   750

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo’s actions – deemed as missteps – as the country’s co-chairperson of the government’s ant-illegal drug campaign has prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to decide against giving her a Cabinet post, Malacañang said Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the president’s decision follows Robredo’s meetings with officials from the United Nations and the United States and other community-based advocacy groups after she accepted the appointment to co-lead the inter-agency committee on anti-illegal drugs (ICAD).

“The Vice President talking with – and seeking the advice of – certain foreign institutions and personalities that have prejudged the campaign against illegal drugs as a violation of human rights, as well as a crime against humanity, did not sit well with the President,” Panelo said in a statement.

“The VP’s actions are all documented in mainstream and social media,” he added.

“These missteps not only derailed PRRD’s [President Rodrigo Roa Duterte] well-meaning intent for the Vice President to be part of the administration, but registered red signs that could not be ignored,” he further stated.

Panelo also said that Robredo’s request to get access to classified information on the government’s war on drugs, including the list of high-value targets, was a “revelation of which could imperil the welfare of the Filipino people and the security of the state.”

He said this added to the chief executive’s reconsideration of his earlier offer to give her a Cabinet post.

“Being a member of the Cabinet gives Ms. Robredo unlimited access to sensitive State matters which, if transmitted by her, whether purposely or otherwise could result to adverse consequences, especially since the VP has the tendency to be generous with acquired information and knowledge to others whose predilection may not be in the best interest of the country,” the Palace official said.

Duterte earlier clarified that Robredo is not a member of his Cabinet despite her designation as ICAD’s co-chair.

“I have not signed an appointment designating her as a cabinet,” the president said.

The president previously said he will appoint Robredo as a Cabinet member if she becomes anti-drug czar.

“I will swear her as a Cabinet member. First, balik siya so that she will have the authority. Eh alam mo ang Cabinet members are alter ego lang ng Presidente ‘yan. So kung may gawain ang Cabinet member, it is as if it is mine. So to make it legal, just a little fiat. Hindi na kailangan na mag-ano pa ako sa Congress. I will just make her the — a Cabinet member. Tapos, all drug cases and all things, matters in connection with drugs iyo na ‘yan hanggang katapusan ng term ko,” Duterte said in a media interview on Oct. 31.

The chief executive earlier threatened to fire Robredo as ICAD’s co-chair if she divulged confidential information on the government’s campaign against illegal drugs.

The vice president on Monday assured that no sensitive information will be disclosed.

Duterte urges Filipinos to set aside differences as PH marks 35th EDSA anniversary

Robie de Guzman   •   February 25, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday called on Filipinos to ‘set aside differences and work together’ as the country marks the 35th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution.

The EDSA People Power Revolution in 1986 was “inspired by the valor of those whose sacrifice made the liberties we enjoy today possible,” Duterte said in a message.

The president also urged Filipinos to remain vigilant in protecting their rights and the country’s democratic institutions.

“As we contemplate the relevance of this occasion, let is proceed with renewed hope and optimism towards the realization of our shared aspirations for our nation. May this serve as a constant reminder for all of us to remain vigilant in safeguarding our democratic institutions, preserving our values, and upholding our rights as Filipinos,” he said.

“Guided by the spirit of EDSA, let us set aside our differences and work together in building a legacy that we can proudly leave behind for future generations of Filipinos,” he added.

The EDSA People Power Revolution overthrew the government of the late dictator President Ferdinand Marcos and installed the late former President Corazon Aquino to the presidency. RRD (with details from Correspondent Joan Nano)

Marcos can still appeal PET decision on poll protest vs Robredo — CJ Peralta

Robie de Guzman   •   February 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines Former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. can still file a motion for reconsideration on the decision of the Supreme Court (SC), sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), on his election protest against Vice President Leni Robredo, Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta said.

Peralta said Marcos may still appeal the decision as part of his legal remedies.

The camp of Marcos earlier said it has yet to decide on whether to file a motion pending the release of the copy of the ruling.

Peralta said the copy of the decision has yet to become available for the public as they are still awaiting other magistrates to submit their written opinions on the matter.

“We are still waiting for the others who might explain their votes because if it is in the result the effect is that those who voted in the result should have explain their votes that’s the rule,” the chief justice told reporters.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday unanimously junked the election protest filed by Marcos against Robredo over the results of the 2016 vice presidential race.

The SC said seven of the 15 justices present during the meeting “fully concurred” in the dismissal while the rest “concurred” in the result.

Peralta has refused to elaborate on the reasons for the dismissal citing confidentiality of court deliberations.

“That I cannot divulge, the deliberation is confidential. What can I only say is that as usual there was deliberation, there were debates, there were several opinions raised but eventually as what the chief justice usually does is to call for a vote and that what happened,” he said.

When asked about the possible effect on the protest should Marcos push through with his plan to run for public office in the 2022 elections, Peralta replied with: “That’s another question. That’s not tackled in our deliberation.”

“If he wants to run then that’s his choice. As to whether or not that will abandon his protest, that’s another thing,” he added. RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)

OVP dismayed over Duterte’s statement against Robredo

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 16, 2021

President Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo.

MANILA, Philippines—The Office of the Vice President expressed dismay over President Rodrigo Duterte’s tirade against Vice President Leni Robredo after she criticized his decision to demand payment for the US troop deal.

Robredo’s Spokesperson Atty. Barry Gutierrez said the President should focus on directly answering the issues at hand, instead of resorting to comments against the Vice President.

“Tuwing magsasalita sa anomang isyu, lagi na lang nagiging ganyan ang sagot sa atin. Imbis na sagutin doon sa level ng kung ano ba talaga yung pinag-uusapan, paninira at pangungutya ang ating inaabot,” he said.

During his public address on Friday (February 12) the President said the US has to pay if they want the Visiting Forces Agreement to continue.

“I’d like to put on notice if there’s an American agent here. From now on, you want the Visiting Forces Agreement done, you have to pay. It’s a shared responsibility but your share of responsibility does not come free because, after all, when the war breaks out, we all pay,” he said during his speech.

Robredo likened Duterte’s demand for payment to “extortion.”

On Monday (February 15), Duterte responded to Robredo’s comment, saying the Vice President “needs to study more.”

“You really do not know your role in this government. The foreign relations with other countries is vested on the President alone kaya hindi mo alam ang mga pangyayari, Duterte said.

“If by unfortunate chance you become the president, please study more. I think that you need a refresher course sa law. That is my advice to you,” he added.

Duterte also slammed Senator Panfilo Lacson for his comments on seeking a more diplomatic approach in resolving the VFA issue. In response, Lacson said the President should reread the 1987 Constitution.

“I may not be a lawyer like him. Last time I read the Constitution, a senator has something to do with international agreements. The President should refresh his memory by reading Article VII Section 21 of the 1987 Constitution,” he said in a statement. AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

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