(3rd UPDATE) Vice President Leni Robredo says she's stepping down as HUDCC chairperson after being told to 'desist from attending all Cabinet meetings'
MANILA, Philippines (4th UPDATE) – "This is the last straw."
Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday, December 4, said she was quitting her post as President Rodrigo Duterte's housing chief on Monday, December 5.
In a statement released by her office late Sunday, Robredo said her resignation was prompted by Duterte's order for her "to desist from attending all Cabinet meetings starting this Monday, December 5."
"This is the last straw, because it makes it impossible for me to perform my duties. Hence, I am tendering my resignation from the Cabinet on Monday, December 5, 2016. With this resignation, you can expect that I will continue to support the positive initiatives of this administration and oppose those that are inimical to the people's interest," said Robredo.
Prior to this, Robredo said she encountered "obstacles" in her role as Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) chairperson, caused by an apparent lack of support from the executive branch. (READ: Gov't only averages 200,000 homes per year – Robredo)
"One, the budget for all key shelter agencies in 2017 has been slashed by more than P19 billion. Two, all our key shelter agency appointment recommendations have not been acted on. Three, the Executive Order designed to make HUDCC effective was not signed," the Vice President said. (READ: Robredo eyes completion of Yolanda housing by 2018)
Robredo ran under the then-ruling Liberal Party (LP) during the May 2016 elections while Duterte was the standard-bearer of the now-ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban). Duterte and many LP personalities have been at odds since the campaign period.
In a speech, Duterte claimed the LP was out to oust him, even if it does not have a majority in either the Senate or the House of Representatives. Robredo, the LP member with the highest elective post, denied these allegations.
'Plot to steal the Vice Presidency'
In her statement, Robredo added that she had long been "warned of a plot to steal the Vice Presidency."
"I have chosen to ignore this and focus on the job at hand. But the events of recent days indicate that this plot is now being set into motion," she said.
Although Robredo did not specify who was "plotting to steal" her post, she recounted her differences with Duterte.
"From the very beginning, the President and I had major differences in principles and values. Since I assumed office, I have been consistent in my opposition to issues such as the burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani, extrajudicial killings, reinstating death penalty, lowering the age of criminal liability, and sexual attacks against women," said Robredo.
Last month, the Robredo camp had expressed alarmover rumors that the country would "have a new VP" by early 2017, supposedly through a recount that would be conducted"without the direction of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal."