President-elect Rodrigo Duterte has refused the recommendation of his economic planning chief to appoint Vice President-elect Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo as the lead convenor of the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC).
Instead of appointing Robredo as recommended by National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) chief Ernesto Pernia, Duterte is planning on appointing a nomination from the National Democratic Front (NDF) instead.
"I'll give it to the Left," Duterte said during a news conference on Thursday evening in Davao City.
Duterte revealed that the Left has already submitted names of their NAPC nominees and that he is planning to choose a woman for the position.
Pernia, a University of the Philippines (UP) professor, said on Thursday he believes that Robredo – a UP economics graduate – is suitable for the NAPC position. The job focuses on strengthening the relationship between the government and sectors such as farmers and fishermen.
"I think the most suitable might be the NAPC, National Anti-Poverty Commission. It's still open. I've already suggested that to Sonny Dominguez, who is very close to Duterte," Pernia said.
Duterte has commented in an earlier interview that he will not appoint Robredo for a Cabinet post because of his close ties to Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos II, a close friend and political ally.
Robredo won the recent vice presidential election against Marcos in a tightly-contested race. The Marcos camp has implied that there might have been cheating involved in Robredo’s close win.
Duterte also pointed out that the law does not require him to include the vice president-elect in his Cabinet.
"There is no law which is a compelling reason for her to be a member of the Cabinet," Duterte explained.
Robredo has responded to Duterte’s snub by promising to do her best to serve the public as the vice president even without being a member of the president’s Cabinet.
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