Palace says if Robredo "can't stand heat," then quit as ICAD co-chair
If Vice President Leni Robredo could not "stand the heat" anymore, she is free to quit as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), Malacañang said on Friday.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said just like accepting a position, resigning from it solely depends upon the person, and not with the appointing power.
"If one is not comfortable with it, or cannot stand the heat in the kitchen, the honorable thing to do is to leave the post quietly," Panelo said in a press briefing.
Panelo made the statement after Robredo said if President Rodrigo Duterte wants her to leave ICAD, he could just tell her.
This was after Duterte admitted on Tuesday night that he did not trust Robredo, thus, he retracted from his promise to give her a Cabinet post.
"It may not be civil nor ethical for VP Leni to taunt or dare the President in demanding the latter to tell her that he does not want her for the job she was appointed to or that he wants her to resign from her current post. Such taunting and daring only make it appear that PRRD ( President Rodrigo Roa Duterte) owes her for appointing her as anti-illegal drug czar. It is the other way around," Panelo said in a statement.
It could be recalled that it was Duterte who offered Robredo the post to be the anti-drug czar after the latter called on the administration to re-assess its bloody war on drugs.
There were observations that the Palace did not expect that Robredo would accept the post.
"Without her (Robredo) knowing it, she may be displaying her lack of care about the work assigned to her, or she may be showing disrespect to the President. The President only said she would not give her a Cabinet rank and she would only fire her if she reveals classified information that imperils the safety and general welfare of the Filipino people," Panelo said.
When Robredo assumed the post as ICAD co-chair, she sought for the list of high value targets and other information related to war on drugs. The vice president has said she wanted to have a complete picture of the problem.
"If she is smarting from the remarks of PRRD of not trusting her to have access to classified information, she has only herself to blame," Panelo said.
"Without first inquiring as to the scope of her authority, which she could have easily done by requesting an audience with the President, she instead went full steam in consulting or inviting foreign institutions and personalities, some of whom have already prejudged the war on drugs as a violation of human rights and crime against humanity. In addition, she demanded full access to confidential matters that involve state security. Those red flags did not inspire confidence on her person, which the Chief Executive could not just brush off," added Panelo, also the chief presidential legal counsel.
Panelo, days after Robredo's appointment, said it would be Duterte who would invite her for a meeting.
Robredo also reportedly sent a letter to Duterte seeking for a meeting. But the President has yet to reply.
Panelo accused Robredo of listening to the advice on how to run her new post by some of her colleagues in the opposition "who are eyeing the presidency in 2022 and who obviously want her to fail in her new job this early, to eliminate her from the race."
"Now the question haunting her is: Will she or will she not? Quo Vadis VP Leni?" he said. Celerina Monte/DMS