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Robredo: No to return to dictatorship

By: Inna Mejia, Izobelle T. Pulgo, Jose Santino S. Bunachita December 05,2016 - 10:54 PM

Vice President Leni Robredo explains her resignation from the Cabinet at a press conference. (INQUIRER PHOTO)

Vice President Leni Robredo explains her resignation from the Cabinet at a press conference. (INQUIRER PHOTO)

Vice President Leni Robredo said yesterday that she will fearlessly stand guard against the return of any form of dictatorship in the country, even as she leaves the Cabinet of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“We will bravely keep watch and guard in order to prevent the return of a dictatorship which ended thousands of lives in the Marcos regime,” Robredo said in an address to the nation a day after she announced her resignation as the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) chair.

This amid fears that Robredo was being eased out of the Cabinet to pave way for the return of a Marcos in the government, son and namesake of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., her closest vice presidential race opponent.

“We have fought this battle before and won. We will never let anyone revise our history and twist it to turn evil into good,” Robredo said.

She then reiterated that she will not allow anyone to steal the vice presidency from her because that would be “against the voice of the people.”

“The Vice Presidency is not just about one person; it’s about you and your rights. What is at stake here is our collective future,” Robredo said.

President Rodrigo Duterte said yesterday that he accepted Robredo’s resignation as a Cabinet member “with a heavy heart.”

“I was just with PRRD and this is what he said, ‘It is with a heavy heart that I accept the resignation of Vice President Leni Robredo,’” Communications Secretary Martin Andanar told media.

Robredo said last Sunday she resigned as a Cabinet member after she was told to “desist from attending all Cabinet meetings.”

In a statement, Robredo said it makes it impossible for her to perform her duties as head of the HUDCC.

Last Sunday evening, Cabinet Secretary Leoncio “Jun” Evasco Jr. said President Duterte instructed him to inform Robredo and Patricia Licuanan, chair of the Commission on Higher Education, to stop attending Cabinet meetings due to “irreconcilable differences.”

Licuanan is an appointee of then president Benigno Aquino III.

Evasco did not elaborate on what the irreconcilable differences were.

Robredo, a member of the Liberal Party, assailed the extrajudicial killings in the Duterte administration’s war on drugs and opposed the burial of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos at Libingan ng mga Bayani. Mr. Duterte supported the Marcos burial at LNMB.

Evasco said while Robredo was asked to desist from attending the Cabinet meetings, there was “no instruction for her to be terminated from her position.”

Robredo became a member of the Cabinet in her capacity as chair of HUDCC, the highest policy making body for housing.

As chair of HUDCC, the agency has had “solid accomplishments” over the past five months despite the P19-billion budget cut for all key shelter agencies and inaction on appointment recommendations, Robredo said.

Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña said he was saddened by Robredo’s resignation, saying she had been doing good as HUDCC chief.

He said Robredo assured that some housing projects will be implemented in Cebu during her time in the office.

“She had many plans. That’s what I’m very worried about (her resignation),” Osmeña said.

Francisco “Bimbo” Fernandez, the mayor’s executive assistant, said Robredo promised to fasttrack the processing of the Community Mortgage Program (CMP).

Osmeña assured though that this would not affect the ongoing negotiations between the city and Cebu province on the resolution of the long-standing 93-1 lot dispute.

Cebu Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale said she was hopeful that Robredo could have worked out her differences with Duterte similar to what’s happening in the local level.

Cebu Provincial Board Members Raul Bacaltos, Sun Shimura and Yolanda Daan were mixed in their assessment on Robredo’s resignation in relation to housing projects in the province.

Shimura said the housing projects in Cebu for victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda were already being implemented.

The Cebu chapter of the militant group Akbayan said they were alarmed by Marcos’s attempts to steal the vice presidency from Robredo.

Another militant group Sanlakas said the government should not forget its mandate to provide housing for the poor./Inquirer with stories from USJ-R Intern Jheysel Ann Tangaro

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TAGS: Cebu, dictatorship, Leni Robredo, Marcos, Rodrigo Duterte, Vice President

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