Duterte accepts Robredo's resignation 'with a heavy heart'

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(File photo) Vice President Leni Robredo (L) and President Rodrigo Duterte (R) together in a ceremony with the Armed Forces of the Philippines

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — President Rodrigo Duterte has accepted the resignation of Vice President Leni Robredo as chairperson of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC).

In a text message, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, quoted the President as saying: "It is with a heavy heart that I accept the resignation of Vice President Leni Robredo."

Over the weekend, Robredo received a text message from Cabinet Secretary Jun Evasco relaying Duterte's order for Robredo to desist from attending all cabinet meetings starting Monday, December 5.

Robredo submitted her resignation on Monday morning.

Leni-Robredo-resignation-letter_CNNPH.jpg

Robredo and Duterte have had difference in opinion — among them, the burial for former President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Robredo may have been fired

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez in a text message to media said he thinks  the President fired Robredo.

Alvarez said: "Considering the situation I think she is fired."

Former President and now House Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo agrees with Alvarez.

Arroyo explained that as president, she refrained from directly firing a cabinet member and instead,  arranged a way for the person concerned to quit.

Also read: 'Reading between the lines,' Andanar says President no longer trusts Robredo

Arroyo added, she once booted out a senior government official by text message.

Asked who the official was, Arroyo said: "It's been done before… I'd rather not say (who). A senior official. Chairman of the board."

The former President said, divergence of opinion on issues is a sound reason to let a cabinet member go.

She recalled, when she was vice president and a member of the Estrada cabinet, she desisted from making any critical remarks about the president.

Arroyo said she resigned when she could no longer avoid doing so.

"The resignation does not come from a widespread clamor. It comes from policy differences. The impact would probably be not as great as like when it happened during our time," Arroyo said.

Arroyo added, there was also a time when she received a message saying she need not attend a cabinet meeting — while she was serving as Estrada's Social Welfare Secretary.

"There was one time I also received a message when I did not have to attend a particular Estrada cabinet meeting. So I figured, well, they were probably gonna take up something political and since I belong to the opposite side of the political fence, they did not want me to be privy to things I can tell other opposition members," Arroyo said. "I respected the instruction not to attend the specific cabinet meeting. It can be done."

With the current situation between Duterte and Robredo, Arroyo said the Vice President's resignation was inevitable.

Also read: Abella and Andanar: There are differences between Duterte and Robredo

Abusive, toxic relationship

Robredo's allies continuously poured in support for the Vice President after her resignation from her cabinet post.

In a statement on Monday, Senator Bam Aquino said he fully supports Robredo's move to leave the cabinet.

"How can she effectively serve in a Cabinet where she is treated poorly, unsupported and even disrespected? How can she serve in a Cabinet that bars her from attending regular meetings," Aquino said. "Now, more than ever, she needs our support to fulfill her mission of uplifting the lives of our countrymen in the fringes of our society."

Senator Risa Hontiveros in a statement described the President's working relationship with the Vice President, as "abusive and toxic relationship."

"From the start, Vice President Robredo was not given enough 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," Hontiveros said. "Worse, as a woman, she was disrespected and objectified on many occasions, by no less than the President himself."

CNN Philippines' Ina Andolong and Joyce Ilas contributed to this report.

Also read: CHED Chairman also barred from Cabinet meetings