MANILA - Vice President Leni Robredo will only be invited to Cabinet meetings that will include the drug war in the agenda, Malacañang said Thursday.
President Rodrigo Duterte himself will extend the invitation to Robredo, his spokesman Salvador Panelo said.
"Sinabi niya na oo imbitahan ko basta tungkol sa kaniyang drug operations, pero kung hindi naman, 'di naman kailangan. Sabi ko ang swerte niya," he told CNN Philippines' The Source.
(He said yes, I'll invite her if it's about her drug operations, but if it's not, there's no need. I said she's lucky.)
The Vice President, who last week accepted Duterte's offer to co-chair the inter-agency committee on anti-illegal drugs, said she would only attend Cabinet meetings if she was invited.
Robredo was part of the Duterte Cabinet handling the housing portfolio in its early months until December 2016, when she was told to stop attending Cabinet meetings. She resigned soon after.
In a Palace briefing, Panelo said it was optional for Cabinet members to attend the meeting.
"If it’s not your topic there, you’ll have to stay there for the rest of the meeting, until the wee hours of the morning," he said.
"Kung di ka naman kasama sa agenda, mas masaya siguro kung di ka na a-attend. That’s why I said you should be thankful, pupunta ka lang kung topic mo."
(If you're not included in the agenda, I think you'd be happier if you won't attend. That’s why I said you should be thankful that you would only go if your topic would be discussed.)
Robredo could still give comments on matters that the Cabinet discusses during meetings she won't attend by writing a statement or a memorandum, Panelo said.
Panelo, meanwhile, urged the public to let Robredo "perform her job."
"Six days pa lang. Siyempre titingnan mo muna 'yung sitwasyon. Tama 'yung ginagawa niya," he said.
(It has only been 6 days. Of course you would look at the situation first. She's doing the right thing.)
"Alam mo lahat ng tao mayroong puwedeng itulong (Everyone can help), let us not underestimate or diminish any capability of any person. I’m sure mayroon siyang may maitutulong dun (she has something to contribute there)."
Robredo, who as opposition leader has criticized the President's war on drugs, earlier said she would shift the campaign's focus on preventing unnecessary killings, for which the administration has drawn international condemnation.