Duterte: Leni Robredo not appointed to Cabinet position as drug czar
MANILA, Philippines — Contradicting his earlier promise of a Cabinet post to Vice President Leni Robredo, President Rodrigo Duterte said he did not appoint Robredo to a Cabinet position when he made her his drug czar.
“She is not a member of the Cabinet. I have not appointed her as a Cabinet member … She’s not a Cabinet [member]. I have not signed an appointment designating her as a Cabinet [member],” Mr. Duterte said in an interview with GMA 7 aired on Monday.
This was contrary to his pronouncement on Oct. 31 that he would have to make Robredo a Cabinet member if he were to name her cochair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (Icad).
In an interview following his visit that day to his parents’ tombs in Davao City, Mr. Duterte said: “If I would take her in as the drug czar, I will have to first make her a Cabinet member. Then I will give her the marching orders and the specific functions. All in connection with drugs will be hers.
“So to make it legal, just a little fiat. I don’t have to pass through Congress. I will just make her a Cabinet member. And all drug cases and all things, matters in connections with drugs, will be hers until the end of my term,” the President said.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo has repeatedly said Robredo will hold a Cabinet rank as Icad cochair.
But on Monday night, Panelo said that her new post was not a Cabinet position.
Robredo has expressed apprehension about attending Cabinet meetings, saying she will only do so if invited.
But in his GMA 7 interview, Mr. Duterte said he did not allow Robredo to return to the Cabinet because she was “talkative.”
“She is not a member of the Cabinet. I have not appointed her as a Cabinet member. You know why? Early on, she was talking right and left that she would talk to this and talk to that,” Mr. Duterte said.
He added: “In the Cabinet meeting, we talk about what’s happening. What if she hears it, then she talks about it outside?”
“First of all, Leni, we do not belong to the same party. I am not suspecting you, but if you see something to use against me … that’s the problem. But if we belong to the same party, there’s no problem,” Mr. Duterte said.
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