Vice President Leni Robredo will not be invited to President Duterte’s upcoming meeting with the Cabinet where efforts to further open up economy will be discussed in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, Malacañang said Thursday. 

ROQUE 3 - Robredo not invited in upcoming Cabinet meeting
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque (CAMILLE ANTE / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque however admitted that the government is willing to consider Robredo’s suggestions in addressing the health emergency if these are new and effective.

The President has called for a Cabinet meeting next Monday to tackle efforts to stimulate economic activity as well as address public transportation concerns amid the pandemic. The Cabinet assembly has been scheduled following concerns raised about the increase in the country’s hunger incidence and child malnutrition as the nation battles the outbreak.

“Kay VP Leni Robredo siya ay Pangalawang Pangulo pero hindi siya miyembro ng Gabinete kaya hindi po siya maiimbita sa cabinet meeting (On VP Leni Robredo, she is the Vice President but she is not a member of the cabinet so she will not be invited to the Cabinet meeting),” he said over state television.

“Saka sinasabi ko naman po na lahat ng suhestiyon niya pinakikinggan natin kaya lang wala pong bago. Kung meron siyang bagong suhestiyon I am sure ikokonsidera po yan (Also, I said we’ve listened to her suggestions but there was nothing new. If she has new suggestions, I am sure we will consider them),” he said.

Last month, Roque taunted Robredo that she could instantly become the country’s President if she can offer a solution to the coronavirus emergency without depending on the vaccine. He made the challenge after Robredo criticized the government’s pandemic response amid escalating cases of infection.

Robredo earlier claimed that the President’s plan to wait for the coronavirus vaccine to effectively address the pandemic was not enough. She instead suggested that medical and non-medical measures should be pursued to suppress the pandemic in the country.

The response, she added, should cover overcoming humanitarian emergencies including poverty, hunger, unemployment, mental distress, and other COVID-19 problems; restructuring public and private finances; and rebuilding an inclusive, resilient and sustainable economy.

Roque, however, dismissed Robredo’s suggestions and asked her to open her “eyes and ears” to the government’s improved efforts to address the pandemic. 

Robredo used to be part of the Duterte Cabinet when she served as chair of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council.

But in December 2016, Robredo quit her post after being barred from attending future Cabinet meetings. 

Duterte accepted Robredo’s resignation as Palace aides claimed there were major differences in issues such as the Marcos burial and drug-related killings.

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