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On President's desist order

Duterte no longer felt comfortable working with Leni, Palace says

By: - Reporter / @NCorralesINQ
/ 03:55 PM December 06, 2016

President Rodrigo Duterte “felt uncomfortable” with the political actions of Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo, prompting him to issue a desist order to stop her from attending all Cabinet meetings.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella on Tuesday said President Rodrigo Duterte was no longer comfortable working with Robredo and her exclusion from the Cabinet would allow the President to “work more comfortably.”

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“It began specifically with the fact that the President no longer felt comfortable working with the Vice President,” Abella told reporters in a Palace briefing.

“Should the President come to the point where he feels that he cannot fully work with or is uncomfortable with a particular Cabinet secretary, then it is his prerogative to release such a member,” he added.

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On Monday, Robredo resigned as chair of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), following orders from Duterte stopping her from attending all Cabinet meetings.

Malacanang said the President’s order was due to “irreconcilable differences” with Robredo and not “inefficiency.”

“The President, I suppose, felt uncomfortable with her engagement with certain political actions,” Abella said.

Robredo has criticized Duterte for his decision to allow the burial of dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. The vice president has also been critical about the spate of killings under the administration’s brutal war on illegal drugs.

Asked if Robredo’s exclusion from Cabinet meetings stemmed from her being a member of the Liberal Party, Abella said it has nothing to do with her political party.

“No, it’s hardly that. It is a question of the political actions that she takes, which will be relative to, not directly the reason for,’” he said.

Despite her differences with the President, Abella said Robredo “functioned as best as she could” as housing chair.

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“Like the reason given was irreconcilable differences and not inefficiency. So based on that, it’s irreconcilable differences. It’s a question of opinion or political stance or political actions. So, it’s not about inefficiency. So, disengage yourself from that,” he added.

During her stint as housing czar, Abella said Duterte and Robredo had a “warm” relationship.

“Basing on the relationships that could be seen and observed during the Cabinet meetings, the relationship between the President and the Vice President was warm. And so there’s absolutely no personal matter that — that doesn’t have anything to do with any personal clashes,” he said. JE/rga

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TAGS: Cabinet, desist order, duterte, HUDCC, Palace, robredo
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