MANILA— Vice President Leni Robredo is not invited to a meeting on economic and transportation woes that President Rodrigo Duterte set, Malacañang said Wednesday, despite her suggestions on the coronavirus pandemic and even as infections continued to mount.
Duterte will meet his full Cabinet on Monday afternoon to discuss a proposal to allow more passengers per public vehicle and further reopen the economy that the pandemic had plunged into recession, said Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque.
"Kay VP Leni Robredo, siya ay Pangalawang Pangulo pero hindi siya miyembro ng Gabinete kaya hindi po siya maimbita sa cabinet meeting," he told government-owned PTV.
(VP Leni is the Vice President but she is not a member of the Cabinet so she could not be invited to the meeting.)
"Saka sinasabi ko naman po na lahat ng suhestiyon niya, pinakikinggan natin kaya lang wala pong bago. Kung mayroon siyang bagong suhestyon I am sure ikokonsidera po 'yan. At lahat naman po ng Cabinet members papunta doon sa pagpupulong na 'yun ay daladala ang sentimyento hindi lang ng kanilang personal kung hindi ang sentimyento ng taumbayan," he added.
(Besides, I relay all her suggestions, we listen though there is nothing new. If she has a new suggestion, I am sure it will be considered. All Cabinet members will go to the meeting bringing not only their sentiments, but those of the public, too.)
The Vice President earlier gave suggestions to the education department on distance learning and to the inter-agency task force on the coronavirus response. Robredo, an economist, later gave a speech on rescuing the economy.
But Duterte claimed in August that Robredo would "just destroy government." He told her: "Please do not add fuel to the fire."
The Vice President last week had urged Roque to refrain from issuing "polarizing" statements that divide instead of unite Filipinos during the pandemic.
On Monday, Roque told Robredo to refrain from "politicking" during the pandemic, as he noted the gap between the approval ratings of the Vice President and Duterte, at 57 percent and 91 percent, respectively.