Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo speaks during a press conference in Quezon City, the Philippines, Dec. 5, 2016. (Xinhua/Rouelle Umali)
MANILA, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday accepted the resignation from his cabinet of Vice President Leni Robredo who quit after she was asked to "desist" from attending the future cabinet meetings.
"It is with a heavy heart that I accept the resignation of Vice President Leni Robredo," Communications Secretary Martin Andanar quoted the President.
Robredo's letter of resignation as the chairwoman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), dated December 5 and addressed to the President, was formally received by the Office of Executive Secretary around 9:07 am.
Robredo said, in her letter, that she had initially accepted the position, despite her differences in opinions and policies with the President, because of their shared commitment to help the poor and marginalized.
"I have exerted all efforts to put aside our differences, maintain a professional working relationship and work effectively despite the constraints because the Filipino people deserve no less. However, your directive for me to 'desist from attending all Cabinet meetings' has effectively made it impossible for me to do my job. Remaining in your Cabinet has become untenable," she added.
Andanar said it was "sad" that the Vice President had to quit the Duterte Cabinet. He also said the President appointed Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr. as a concurrent HUDCC chairman.
The President, through Evasco, instructed Robredo to desist from attending Cabinet meetings starting December 5.
Evasco, who texted the President's instruction to Robredo, said Duterte mentioned that his "irreconcilable differences" with the Vice President prompted the directive.
Evasco, in a statement issued, said Cabinet members accept their appointments with the implicit agreement that they agree with Duterte's program, platform and policies.
"While there may be matters they take issue with, these are to be handled consensually because it is vital for the Cabinet to be united. It is important that while one is a member of the Cabinet to express one's views discreetly and not be adversarial publicly," Evasco said.
Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo attends a press conference in Quezon City, the Philippines, Dec. 5, 2016. (Xinhua/Rouelle Umali)