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Robredo on Cabinet meetings: I’ll go if I’m invited

Vice-President Leni Robredo meets with the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs at the Office of the Vice President on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2019. Charlie Villegas, OVP

MANILA—Vice-President Leni Robredo on Sunday said she will only attend Cabinet meetings if she is invited.

According to Robredo, she has yet to clarify whether her new designation as co-chairman of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) is a Cabinet position, adding it was not specified when she received the appointment.

“In-appoint ako, dinesignate ako as co-chairman ng ICAD, ‘yung Cabinet position, Cabinet rank, hindi siya nakasaad doon sa designation. Sinasabi lang ‘yun ni Sec. (Salvador) Panelo during briefings, media guestings, pero ako maghihintay ako na i-clarify kung ano talaga,” Robredo said on her radio show “Biserbisyong Leni.”

She added she will continue to follow the Palace’s previous order asking her to skip Cabinet meetings unless she is invited.

“Sa akin naman, mag-a-attend ako kung imbitahan ako. Pero kung hindi ako imbitahan, hindi ako pupunta kasi naalala mo, sila din ‘yung nag-order sa akin na ‘wag akong mag-aattend,” Robredo said.

“Until such time na walang bagong order, ‘yung dating order nila stands, na hindi ako maga-attend ng Cabinet meetings.”

For Robredo, the cooperation between agencies is more important than being invited to meetings.

“Pero sa akin hindi importante. Ang importante, cooperation ng mga agencies. Makikita natin ‘yung sincerity ng offer kung ‘yung mga agencies, fully mag-cooperate,” she explained.

In 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered Robredo, who was Housing secretary at that time, to desist from attending Cabinet meetings due to “irreconcilable differences.”

She resigned as chair of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) shortly after.

With her new post as ICAD co-chair, Robredo is expected to gain full access to information, including investigation reports into police operations which resulted in deaths.

Human rights groups, local and international, have questioned government figures showing at least 6,000 deaths in the drug war, saying the actual number might be double or even triple the official count.

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