MANILA – Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman smells something sinister behind the easing out of Vice President Leni Robredo from the Cabinet of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Robredo, who was appointed as housing czar five months ago, tendered her resignation Monday after being told to “desist” from attending Cabinet meetings.
Lagman, who belongs to the “Magnificent 7” opposition lawmakers at the House of Representatives, believes the President wants to hide something from Robredo.
“I think the VP was eased out from the Cabinet to bar her from having access to plans in the Cabinet, as well to the National Security Council,” Lagman said.
“She will not have access anymore. Most probably there are clandestine or secret plans that shouldn’t be known to her as a member of the Liberal Party. She is considered to be not closely allied with the administration despite the fact that it's a part of the supermajority.”
Robredo, the highest elected official of the erstwhile ruling LP, said staying in the Cabinet was no longer tenable, citing "major differences" with Duterte and suspicions that a plot was underway to unseat her.
She said she will continue to support government programs but will voice stronger opposition to those “detrimental” to the interests of the Filipinos.
SOLONS RALLY BEHIND ROBREDO
Another vocal opposition lawmaker, Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat, said it does not make sense if the real reason behind the decision to ease out Robredo was her opposition to some of Duterte’s policies.
Baguilat pointed out that Robredo is not the only Cabinet member to disagree with the president on his bloody war on drugs and the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
He noted that Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo also spoke out openly against the drug killings and Marcos burial, along with other Cabinet members from the progressive bloc.
“The incident shows how decision-making is happening in the Cabinet. Parang walang democratic values kasi lagi nila sinasabi na dahilan kung bakit tinulak na si Leni na umalis sa gabinete ay iyung kaniyang views,” Baguilat said.
Northern Samar Rep. Raul Daza, meanwhile, believes Duterte meant to warn his Cabinet members to toe the line.
“It’s probably to warn, if not threaten, the other members of the Cabinet that they better toe the line because if he can do it to the vice-president herself he can also do it to the other members of the Cabinet,” Daza said.
Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice maintains Robredo's ouster from the Cabinet was politically motivated.
"Ang take ko doon parang ayaw niya pero meron siyang allies na he cannot refuse so it’s really political rather than governance," Erice said.
Erice also dismissed as mere paranoia all talks of an alleged Liberal Party plot to unseat Duterte. He said the alleged oust-Robredo plot is more plausible because there is an electoral protest against her.