President Rodrigo Duterte administers the oath of office to Vice President Leni Robredo as Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) secretary on 7 July 2016.  Robredo would resign her post a few months later after being barred by the President from attending Cabinet meetings. (Palace photo)

President Rodrigo Duterte maintained that while Vice President Leni Robredo is still co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), he insists that she is not a member of the Cabinet, so she is not allowed to attend cabinet meetings where sensitive information are discussed.

Tawag nila diyan 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,” Duterte said.

The President also said the designation of the Vice President in his war on drugs does not come with full access to classified documents.

“If she asks something, then you give her. You give her half of it. The other half, if it’s a classified information, there is no need for her to know,” Duterte said.

The main beef of the President against Robredo is because she is allied with the opposition.

Kung anong mapulot mo dito balang araw..two years na lang, and she wants to aspire for the presidency,” Duterte said.

Robredo hoped that the President will be more straightforward with her.

Dapat derechuhin na lang ako. Derecho naman akong kausap. Kung ayaw niya ako dito in the first place bakit ako inappoint? Kung ayaw na niya, kung nagkamali siya  sa pag-appoint sa akin at gusto niyang bawiin sabihin lang,” Robredo said.

Robredo also wrote a letter to the President where she was seeking clarification on the scope of her work.

Sinasabi ko hindi pwede kami mag-determine kasi siya yung appointing officer. Kailangan siya yung magsabi. Ano ba yung mandatong binigay sa akin, ano ba yung limits,” she said.

But for Sen. Panfilo Lacson, it is clear that the President wants the Vice President out.

Lacson added that responsibility without commensurate authority is a guaranteed formula for failure. 

Former President Noynoy Aquino meanwhile wonders why Robredo was given the anti-drug post in the first place if the President doesn’t trust her.

Balik tayo sa criteria na kung bakit ka ba nag-appoint, bakit mo tinatalaga ang isang tao sa isang tungkulin. Galing naman tayo doon…so pwede bang itatalaga mo na di mo pinagkatiwalaan, medyo magulo ata,” Aquino said.

The Vice President meantime clarified that she has not invited any foreign prosecutor as mentioned by the President.  She insists that this is “ fake news”.

“Fake news yun at sana si President e hindi naniniwala sa fake news kasi madali naman itong check.” Robredo said.

Duterte reacted by threatening to harm any foreign prosecutor that Robredo would invite. “Papasukin mo dito ‘yang p***** i**** ‘yan. puntahan kita sa opisina mo, sampalin ko ‘yan sa harap mo.” Duterte said. (Jasper Camilo)