The resignation of Vice President Leni Robredo as chairperson of the cabinet-level Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) did not really come as a surprise to me.
Since I first learned a few months ago that the 2017 proposed budget for the office of the vice president was reportedly slashed from P500 million to P428 million, this after her travel allowance for this year was reduced to P37 million from the nearly P60 million allotted to her, I thought it would just be a matter of time before she raises up her hand and give up her Cabinet position.
What made it sooner was apparently the dismaying and disappointing slashing further of the 2017 budget for all key shelter agencies, which included the HUDCC, by a devastating amount of more than P19 billion.
It is bad enough that one’s travelling expenses are curtailed, but how can one perform an efficient job managing housing projects and the amenities that goes with it for the needy when one barely have enough resources?
On top of all these, Robredo also lamented saying, that “all her key shelter appointment recommendations have not been acted on” and that “the Executive Order designed to make HUDCC effective was not signed”.
One can only understand, therefore, the frustration Robredo has been putting up with all these restrictions and impediments thrown at her by the Duterte administration despite the impressive accomplishment HUDCC has done in barely five months under Robredo’s leadership.
Thus, when Robredo reportedly received a text message from secretary to the Cabinet Leoncio Evasco relaying President Rodrigo Duterte’s instruction telling her “to desist from attending all Cabinet meetings” beginning Monday, Nov. 5, she did not hesitate filing her resignation as well as Housing secretary for this was the God-given graceful exit she was waiting for.
While it is true that Duterte and Robredo have diverging views politically and morally on various issues plaguing the country today, it cannot be denied, however, that Robredo has been supportive of Duterte’s programs when it comes to development and improving the lives of Filipinos, this, even as the former has been at the receiving end of the latter’s sexist remarks as perceived by the womenfolk and the most telling blow of all which is Duterte’s bias for Bongbong Marcos who continues to contest Robredo’s victory.
What a waste of talent of a decent, intelligent and productive person – a pure public servant that Duterte is eliminating in his Cabinet.
Whichever way one looks at it Duterte is not only gravely erring in his decision but more painfully Duterte is also doing injustice to Robredo and to the country.