MANILA — The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo on Wednesday clarified again the reason behind her resignation from President Rodrigo Duterte's Cabinet as Housing chief in 2016, belying a claim that her departure was due to her "choice" to "lead the opposition."
"Ayoko na sanang patulan pero sobrang sinungaling eh," Barry Gutierrez, Robredo's spokesman, tweeted.
"'Pinili' daw ni VP Leni na umalis sa Gabinete para maging lider ng oposisyon. Hay naku, magsisinungaling na lang andali pang hulihin. Resibo," he said.
Duterte's spokesman said earlier in the day that it seems Robredo has forgotten the President gave her a Cabinet post but she supposedly chose to be an opposition leader instead.
Harry Roque made the comment when asked to react on Robredo's statement that she will not treat Duterte the same way she was treated if they swap positions next year.
In his tweet to refute Roque's claim, Gutierrez attached a screenshot of former Cabinet Secretary Jun Evasco's text message to Robredo where she was asked to "desist" from attending Palace meetings beginning Dec. 5, 2016.
This was not the first time Robredo's camp showed the same message to justify her decision to quit Duterte's Cabinet.
In a statement regarding her resignation that time, Robredo said: "This is the last straw, because it makes it impossible for me to perform my duties. Hence, I am tendering my resignation from the Cabinet on Monday, December 5, 2016."
Evasco confirmed at the time that he sent the message as per instruction of Duterte who cited “irreconcilable differences” as the reason. The Cabinet Secretary clarified though that Duterte did not order the termination of Robredo.
Duterte's allies said later that the Vice President was "fired" from the Cabinet and did not quit on her own accord.
On Tuesday night, Robredo said that she won't treat Duterte the way he treated her if she runs for and wins the country's top post and Duterte bags the vice presidency during next year's elections.
Robredo is not yet decided to run for president despite prodding from some sectors, while Duterte recently said he plans to run for vice president supposedly to get legal immunity amid threats of lawsuits from his critics once he steps down next year.
Legal experts have said the country's second highest official is not immune from suit.