“I WILL continue to fight against things I do not believe in. If being an opposition leader entails that, then I will be an opposition leader,” Vice Pres. Leni Robredo told the media after she resigned from Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s Cabinet last week.
Robredo quit being the chairperson of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) after being ordered—via a text message—to desist from attending all cabinet meetings. She alleged that there’s a plot to eventually remove her from vice presidency.
“We had hoped this day would not come. I had been warned of a plot to steal the Vice Presidency. I have chosen to ignore this and focus on the job at hand. But the events of recent days indicate that this plot is now being set into motion,” Robredo said in her resignation letter.
Malacañang officials said that the “separation” was caused by irreconcilable differences, as there are certain policies that the two leaders disagree on.
Robredo has been a staunch critic of Duterte’s ongoing drug war and has lamented the rising number of casualties. She insists that the rule of law must prevail and urged the public to remain vigilant.
“It’s not about deciding who dies or who lives. It’s also about making sure that when the fighting dies down, what’s left is a community that trusts more than fears,” she said in August.
The government’s bloody campaign against illegal drugs has left more than 3,600 suspects dead, including more than 1,300 killed in gun battles with authorities—an average of 36 killings a day since he took office on June 30. This brutal crackdown on drugs has also led to killings on the streets and violations of human rights, including the right to life and to due process.
Another divisive issue that might have pulled the trigger on this short-lived partnership was the controversial decision of Duterte to allow the burial of former Pres. Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery).
Robredo is the highest ranking leader of the Liberal Party and a known ally of former Pres. Benigno Aquino III. She also defeated the late president’s son, former Sen. Bongbong Marcos, in the vice presidential race.
Cabinet Secretary Leoncio “Jun” Evasco Jr, who related the president’s order to Robredo, denied that the decision to cut her loose was connected to Duterte’s close ties with the Marcoses.
On Thursday, Dec. 8, Duterte assured Robredo that there are no plots to steal the vice presidency from her.
“I will assure Leni and the rest of the Bicol region that you will have her until the very end of her term,” Duterte told reporters. “There is no such thing as removing of a vice president,” he added.
Duterte has also accused the “Yellows,” or allies of the previous Aquino administration led by the Liberal Party, of plotting to oust him.
This political divide led by the country’s top leaders is set to continue well into 2022 if they both finish their terms. This is not democracy at work because it brings heightened uncertainty and increased tensions.
Instead of inspiring intelligent opinion on the country’s current issues, the continuous disagreement causes national bickering and it is deeply unsettling. (AJPress)