Sen. Risa Hontiveros has backed Vice President Leni Robredo’s decision to quit from President Rodrigo Duterte’s cabinet.
In a statement, Hontiveros said it was an “abusive and toxic relationship” and she was set up to fail with no
support to fully exercise her task as the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) Chairperson.
“As if by design, she was intended to fail. Worse, as a woman, she was disrespected and objectified on many occasions, by no less than the President himself. Her way of dressing was made object of sexist remarks, she was subjected to inappropriate advances and was even reduced to well-rounded knees,” said Hontiveros.
“Even the manner on how the Vice President was ordered not to attend future Cabinet meetings was intolerably disrespectful of the position she holds. It was cavalier and reeked of machismo. It was meant to denigrate Vice President Robredo one last time. It was meant to show that she is unworthy of the Chief Executive’s time and any serious consideration,” she added.
Robredo announced Sunday that she was resigning after getting a text from Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco relaying Duterte”s mesage to “desist from attending all Cabinet meetings starting this Monday, December 5.” In contrast, Duterte personally called Robredo last July 7 to ask her if she wanted to head the HUDCC.
Hontiveros said that this was presidential prerogative, it also betrayed the irreconcilable differences between the two.
Lwhile others were removed for their inadequacies, Vice President Robredo was barred from future cabinet meetings because she dared oppose the burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani, extra-judicial killings, reimposition of death penalty, lowering the age of criminal liability, and misogynistic attacks against women. She was punished for doing the right things,” said Hontiveros.
Without Robredo, Hontiveros said the Duterte Cabinet has become “an old boys’ club.”
“This demonstrates once more President Duterte’s intolerance for dissent,” she added.