MANILA - Vice President Leni Robredo did not carry out official functions at a summit of world leaders in Manila because she was not part of President Rodrigo Duterte's Cabinet, Malacañang said Thursday.
Robredo was not invited to welcome any foreign leaders who arrived in the country for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit this week. Cabinet members took on the task, which was traditionally given to past vice presidents.
The Vice President was also left out of the gala dinner that Duterte hosted for ASEAN leaders on Sunday.
"Wala namang ibang dahilan kung hindi ang Vice President po, bagama't siya'y pangalawang pinakamataas na opisyales, e hindi po siya miyembro ng Gabinete," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque told DZMM.
"Sang-ayon daw ata sa protocol, ang dapat na sumasalubong ay representante ng Pangulo. Ang mga Gabinete ay kinokonsiderang alter ego ng ating Presidente."
(There is no other reason for this other than the Vice President, despite being the second highest official, is not a member of the Cabinet. Protocol dictates that foreign leaders should be welcomed by representatives of the President. The Cabinet is considered as the alter ego of our President.)
Robredo resigned from the Cabinet in January, citing "irreconcilable and public" differences with Duterte's policies, including his war on drugs, his push to reinstate the death penalty, and the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the heroes' cemetery.
While the Vice President did not serve any official functions during the 31st ASEAN Summit, she was invited to attend Monday's opening ceremony, said Roque.
Robredo, he noted, also delivered a keynote speech during the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit on Tuesday.