MANILA - House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Monday said "trust issues" between President Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo eventually led to her exit from the Cabinet.
He said that Robredo, as a Cabinet member, was not supposed to publicly disagree with the President. Robredo is critical of the Duterte's approval of the Marcos burial at the heroes' cemetery and deaths related to the war on drugs.
"Iyung Cabinet position is a position of trust, and confidence ng President ang mahalaga doon, kasi alter ego sila ng presidente. Awkward masyado na alter-ego ka ng Presidente tapos merong sinasabi yung Presidente kinokontra mo," he said.
(The Cabinet position is a position of trust, and the confidence of the President is important because she is the alter ego of the president. It is awkward to be the alter ego of the president and yet you contradict what he says.)
Asked if Robredo broke the President's trust, Alvarez said the fact that Robredo was asked "to desist from attending all Cabinet meetings" is an indication of this.
"I think so, kasi nga sinabihan na siya na 'wag siyang mag-attend ng Cabinet meetings. Eh kung sa akin din sinabi yun eh not a single second… Alam mo parang ikaw din, 'pag wala ka nang tiwala doon sa girlfriend mo, eh 'di hiwalayan mo na iyun. Alangan namang pagtitiyagaan mo pa iyon," Alvarez said.
(I think so, because she was told not to attend Cabinet meetings. It's like when you don't trust your girlfriend anymore, you break up with her. You shouldn't stay with her.)
Alvarez said the President was being civil by coursing the instruction by text message.
"Kung lalaki iyun baka si Presidente mismo 'yung ano... baka sinipa pa 'yun. Kaya lang babae syempre, magalang naman si Presidente."
(If she were male, the President may have delivered the message personally, he might even get kicked. But she is female, the President is just being courteous.)
Alvarez insisted that Robredo was removed from the Cabinet.
"Oo, siyempre, kasi tingnan mo yung circumstances. She was advised by Sec. Evasco not to attend Cabinet meetings anymore. So pag tiningnan mo dun, ano pa ang ibig sabihin noon? Talagang inaalis na siya. At ang sa akin naman, pinupuri ko rin naman si Vice President Leni Robredo dahil kusang loob naman siyang nag-resign dahil nga doon sa incident na iyon, hindi kagaya nung iba pinag-reresign na ayaw," he said.
(She was advised by Sec. Evasco not to attend Cabinet meetings anymore. What does it mean? She was removed. For me, it's better that Vice President Leni Robredo resigned because of the incident, unlike other who refuse to resign even when asked to.)
For Alvarez, Robredo's exit is not a cause for concern.
"Alam naman natin na talagang magkaibang partido 'yan, ano. At siguro inappoint ni Presidente, more of an accommodation," he said.
(We all know that she's from the other party, and maybe she was appointed only to accommodate them.)
He dismissed concerns that Robredo's exit may affect the delivery of services.
"Diyos ko, andaming magagaling na Pilipino, 110 million na tayo ngayon, imposibleng walang magaling diyan," Alvarez said.
(There are a lot of smart Filipinos. There are 110 million Filipinos now, it's impossible that there's no one who can do her job.)
Alvarez is unfazed by the possibility that the Liberal Party will break away from its alliance in the supermajority.
"Hindi ko alam pero I welcome any move, wala tayong problema diyan," he said.
(I don't know but I welcome any move, we don't have any problem with it.)