Duterte says he cannot trust Robredo
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday said he could not trust Vice President Leni Robredo, prompting him not to allow the opposition stalwart to be part of his Cabinet.
Duterte criticized how Robredo has been talking to various groups critical of his war on drugs right after she accepted the position to be the government’s drug czar.
“The problem with Robredo is this. Right after she was appointed, she began talking publicly about inviting the Human Rights Commission, she was talking to the United Nations, she would want to talk to the European, and she talks too much,” he said in a late-night press conference in Malacañang.
“I cannot appoint her as a Cabinet member. If that is the way her mouth behaves, there can never be a position for her,” he added.
Duterte described Robredo’s actions as “grandstanding.”
“She was grandstanding It was like a carnival after,” he said.
“She was talking right and left…You will just place the Republic of the Philippines in jeopardy. You know why? It’s your penchant,” he added, saying the Vice President is into knee-jerk reactions.
Duterte appointed Robredo on October 31 as co-chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) after the Vice President criticized the administration’s brutal war on drugs as a failure.
The President earlier told reporters in Davao City that Robredo should have a Cabinet rank if she becomes “anti-drug czar.”
The Vice President accepted the offer on November 6. But Duterte said he does not trust Robredo to be a Cabinet member.
“The problem is I cannot trust her not only because she is with the opposition. I do not trust her because I do not know her,” Duterte told reporters in Malacañang.
“You know what? She’s with the opposition and she would be attending Cabinet meetings. In that Cabinet meetings, we discuss mundane matters, we discuss day-to-day matters, we discuss security matters, we discuss critical issues,” he added.
The President said the ay Robredo behaved after her appointment as drug czar was “not inspiring.”
He even called Robredo a “scatterbrain.”
“If that is the way her mouth behaves, that is the way —scatterbrain eh,” he said.
Duterte said if Robredo becomes a Cabinet member, “she would have access to everything,” including classified matters.
“If I make her one of the Cabinet members then she would participate in the discussion and would know everything that is classified, I said mundane and just an ordinary thing, it’s all discussed there,” he said.
“We are a republic. We are practicing good practices to safeguard the country. And so I cannot jeopardize those things,” he added.
The President said it is not good for the country for Robredo to have access to classified information in the country.
“If I make her a Cabinet member, then she would demand, ‘I am already a Cabinet member, you gave me this job, then I will have to dwell on the records and everything that I wanted to know or I want to know,’” he said.
“So, to my mind, in my own estimation, it’s not good for the country,” he added.
Not firing Robredo
Despite not trusting her, Duterte said he would not fire Robredo as his anti-illegal drugs czar.
“She is there. I appointed her. She is working. As a matter of fact, she’s been issuing statements everyday,” he said.
“I am just saying the parameters. But she is there. I do not have to fire her. She is there. She is working,” he added.
“In the first place actually, what she should have done and should understand is to give the direction and the guidance, and of course instruct the law enforcement agencies to make it more transparent to her liking,” he further said.
The President said he did not make Robredo a Cabinet member so as not to jeopardize state secrets.
“I never said I’m firing him. I said I decided not to appoint her as a Cabinet member because I think I will jeopardize the whole situation including records, classified which are secrets. They call that state secrets. That includes everything from sensitive matters with our relations with China then with the United States and what happened to the equipment that we bought, that it went down,” he said.
Edited by GSG
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