Bong Go ignored Robredo’s plea to confirm Duterte’s order
Vice President Leni Robredo repeatedly asked special assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go to confirm if President Rodrigo Duterte indeed ordered her to stop from attending Cabinet meetings, a move which prompted Robredo to resign as the Housing czar.
In a press conference on Monday at the Quezon City Reception House, Robredo said Duterte’s order came as a surprise to her.
She recalled her staff Undersecretary Boyet Dy telling her on Friday after a phone call with a Malacañang representative not to attend Cabinet meetings anymore “so as not to aggravate the situation.”
“In fact, the whole of Thursday afternoon I was in Malacañng for the Yolanda cluster meeting. Ako pa nga ang may pinakamahabang presentation tapos all of a sudden ganito,” Robredo said.
“Ang sabi sa akin, hindi daw talaga ako pwedeng magattend. Initially, I was insisting na mag-attend kasi baka sabihin na remiss ako sa aking duties. Tapos sabi ni Usec Dy, “Nakikiusap po, Ma’am na ‘wag ka na po talagang pumunta so as not to aggravate the situation.” So ang sabi ko, “What situation?” Hindi naman sinabi,” she said.
Robredo refused to budge, saying until she receives a formal letter from the Palace informing her of the presidential order, she would still attend the Monday meeting.
On Saturday, Robredo received the text message from Cabinet Secretary Jun Evasco, relaying President Duterte’s order to “desist from attending Cabinet meetings starting Dec. 5, Monday.”
The next day, Robredo contacted Go to confirm whether Duterte’s order was true but she did not get a response.
“I sent him I think three to four messages asking him for a confirmation from the President. Dati naman sinasagot ako pero the whole of Sunday, hindi ako sinagot,” she said.
The Vice President then texted Evasco and sought confirmation from him but her message was again ignored.
So Robredo said they discussed what steps they should take.
“It’s like I’m being fired. How will I be able to function if I skip the Cabinet meetings because HUDCC is not a department but a coordinating agency,” she said.
Robredo formally resigned on Monday morning as the chair of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC). Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said President Duterte accepted Robredo’s resignation “with a heavy heart.”
Evasco will replace Robredo as HUDCC head.