“She [Vice President Leni Robredo] is not a member of the Cabinet. I have not appointed her as a Cabinet member.”
This is the statement of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Robredo’s co-chairmanship position at the Inter-agency Council on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD). In an interview, the President himself contradicted his pronouncement last October 31, wherein he stated that he would have to make Robredo a Cabinet member if she will become a drug czar.
Earlier, Duterte expressed concern that the Vice President may disclose sensitive information discussed during Cabinet meetings, noting that she has been talking to various groups after being named as co-chair of ICAD.
“She [Robredo] 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. In the Cabinet meeting, we talk about what’s happening eh kung marinig nya yan dyan tapos dadaldal nya sa labas, so di ko….,” Duterte said in an interview.
It can be recalled how Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo has repeatedly said Robredo is holding a Cabinet rank, thus she will have to attend the scheduled meetings.
However, on Monday night, Panelo then said that her new post was not a Cabinet position. His statement came after Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency director-general Aaron Aquino refused to give her a copy of the list of high-value targets in the campaign against illegal drugs.
The President had also threatened to fire Robredo from her post if she would share classified matters of the government since she will be jeopardizing the security of the state.
“The President stated that disclosing classified information of the Philippine Government to foreign individuals and entities will cause the removal of the Vice President from her current post,” Panelo said in a statement.
The Malacanang spokesperson said that President Duterte made the statement because of the Vice President demanding access to all documents inclusive of classified data related to the government’s program on the illegal drug trade including its funding.
Panelo also mentioned that Robredo has invited personalities of the United Nations ‘who have described the country as a murderous country and who have called for the arrest of’ the President.
“Even the prosecutor of the rejected Rome Statute ICC (International Criminal Court) that has no jurisdiction over the country has been welcomed by the Anti-Illegal Drug Czar,” Panelo said.