MOSCOW, Russia - Both Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana could not believe that Vice President Leni Robredo has resigned from the Cabinet.
The two were on a long-haul flight to Moscow, Russia when news of Robredo's resignation came out Sunday in Manila.
Yasay and Lorenzana were reported to be very close to Robredo as they were seatmates in the regular Cabinet meeting.
Yasay branded as "unfortunate" the news of Robredo's resignation, as both the president and the vice president were starting to have a good working relationship anchored on mutual respect and professionalism.
According to Yasay, it is wrong to insinuate that the president will resort to illegal moves to unseat Robredo as vice president, and thus, favor the election protest of losing vice presidential bet, former senator Bongbong Marcos.
"I think the correct way of doing it was for Leni to immediately talk to the President because ano siya, malapit si Presidente sa kanya. Malapit si Presidente sa kanya eh. The President has never showed any feelings of animosity. I am not surprised of the fact that the president likes her," Yasay said.
Lorenzana, on the other hand, appears to be more sympathetic to Robredo. He said the vice president would always talk to him on her pabahay programs that included housing projects for the soldiers.
The defense chief believes Robredo is running her department effectively. What is even more puzzling for him is no less than the president himself would often remind him to include Robredo in the usual security briefing.
"I was really surprised na nagresign siya. Marami siyang ginagawa diyan eh. She was telling of the things she was doing with the Housing. Marami siyang nakikitang mga problema at mga bahay na dapat ibigay sa mga tao. In fact, gusto nga niyang ibigay sa mga sundalo eh," he said.
"Palagi namang sinasabi ni Presidente na we should include her sa mga briefing namin, mga security briefing kasi she's next in line, kasi kapag may nangyari sa akin, sabi niya, siya ang presidente niyo," he added.
Both Lorenzana and Yasay are in Moscow to lay the groundwork for the planned visit of President Rodrigo Duterte to Russia sometime late March or April.