MANILA – An opposition lawmaker has asked the Liberal Party to leave the supermajority in Congress supportive of President Rodrigo Duterte following the resignation of Vice President Leni Robredo from the Cabinet.
Robredo on Sunday announced her resignation as housing czar after she was directed by no less than Duterte not to attend Cabinet meetings anymore.
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said following Robredo’s departure from the Cabinet, the erstwhile ruling party must now rethink its alliance with the supermajority.
“The Liberal Party (LP) must rethink its alliance with President Duterte's ruling party, the PDP-Laban. Robredo is the highest ranking LP-elected official. The break will also further energize efforts to contain and oppose administration policies violative of the Constitution and inimical to the people's welfare,” Lagman said in a statement.
“The LP's disengagement from the supermajority and assuming the role of political opposition will strengthen the authentic minority as an indispensable institution in a democracy."
Lagman also said that righteous indignation impelled Robredo's resignation since “no self-respecting official must suffer any further the grave assaults on her person and position.”
Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat, another opposition figure, said Robredo’s resignation was no longer surprising.
“[It was] not really unexpected considering how she has been mistreated by this administration. The order for her not to attend cabinet meetings is tantamount to asking her to resign or firing her,” Baguilat said.
“Perhaps, LP as a party should start thinking (leaving supermajority) about that also. LP must make a strong stand to support her decision and denounce the plot to unseat her. She's the LP chairman, newly installed, so it's an affront to our leadership."
Akbyan Rep. Tom Villarin said Robredo’s resignation also reflects how Duterte has drawn lines against the critics of his administration.
"It is a big disappointment for our country and our people that President Duterte had to treat VP Leni Robredo in such manner. Her resignation is a great loss, especially that only a few good men and women are now left serving this administration. Such is a loss for the President but a gain for the people, as she can be more with those in the margins of society,” Villarin said.
"The President is saying, ‘If you are not with me, then you're against me.’ It has become very divisive and portends of a highly partisan presidency that is not good for the nation."
Villarin also pointed out that 'the "oust Leni" scenario is very real as reflected in presidential pronouncements supportive of the family of Robredo’s vice-presidential rival, former senator Bongbong Marcos.
“President Duterte's public affection for the dictator and his son is overtly scandalous to say the least. With two new justices to be appointed in the Supreme Court by President Duterte, his grip will be formidable and can sway the court to favor Bongbong Marcos' electoral protest versus VP Robredo. Indeed, dark days are ahead but we must continue to rage against the dying of the light,” Villarin said.
Other congressmen meantime supported Robredo's decision to leave the cabinet after the chief executive barred her from attending cabinet meetings.
"I fully support Vice President Leni Robredo in her decision to resign from the Cabinet. This is yet another proof of her consistency with the principles she has shown long before being elected into public office,” said Dinagat Islands Rep. Kaka Bag-ao.
“It was bound to come.. she just doesnt fit in the President's team," said Rep. Ramon Rocamora from the lone district of Siquijor.
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez for his part maintained Robredo's exit was imposed upon her.
Speaking to Radio DZMM, Alvarez said, "Yes. Iyan ang pananaw ko Kabayan dahil alam mo naman, ang Cabinet position ay kinakailangan yung trust and confidence of the President. Ngayon, pag nawala na yun, talagang… kagaya nito, na sinabihan siya na huwag nang mag-attend ng Cabinet meeting, so ibig sabihin noon naging civil lang……Si Secretary Jun Evasco para sabihin sa kanya na she's really fired.”