Robredo to skip Cabinet meetings unless invited
MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo on Sunday said she would not attend Cabinet meetings unless invited by the Duterte administration, stressing that coordinating with agencies was more important at this point.
Although presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Robredo’s appointment as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) gave her a Cabinet rank, the Vice President said such designation was not stated in the memorandum issued by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Robredo discussed the issue in her AM radio program “BISErbisyong LENI” with her co-anchor Ely Saludar.
“On my part, I will attend the Cabinet meetings if I’m invited,” she said, speaking in Filipino. “But if I’m not invited, I won’t attend since they were the ones who asked me to desist from attending the meetings anyway.”
The second-highest elected official of the land also argued that, at this point, working directly with agencies was more crucial.
“For me what’s important is cooperation among agencies,” Robredo said.
The President offered the ICAD post to Robredo, who leads the opposition Liberal Party, after she said there was a need to reassess the former’s bloody drug war following its failure to curb the number of drug users in the country.
Citing data from the Dangerous Drugs Board and the President himself, the Vice President said the number of drug users grew to seven to eight million in 2019, from 1.8 million in 2016 when President Duterte assumed office.
Robredo said she was planning to stop the killings of the innocent and the abuses committed by officials under her watch.
Over 5,500 individuals have been killed in the crackdown against illegal narcotics, according to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, but human rights groups have counted as many as 27,000 deaths.
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