Duterte says Robredo may lose post if she shares classified info with UN, other foreign bodies – spokesperson

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President Rodrigo Duterte has warned Vice President Leni Robredo that she may lose her job if she shares classified government information with foreign individuals, his spokesman said Sunday. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 17) — President Rodrigo Duterte has warned that Vice President Leni Robredo may lose her job if she shares classified government information with foreign individuals, his spokesman said Sunday.

The Palace has expressed alarm over Robredo’s recent coordination with foreign entities, including the United Nations, who “have described the country as a murderous country.” UN representatives have also called for the arrest of President Duterte, the Palace reminded. The Vice President was recently appointed co-chair of the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-illegal Drugs (ICAD).

“The President stated that disclosing classified information of the Philippine Government to foreign individuals and entities will cause the removal of the Vice President from her current post,” said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo in a statement.

This follows apprehensions raised this week by another member of ICAD, Interior Undersecretary Ricojudge Echiverri, who admitted he felt uneasy working with the Vice President on the government’s anti-drug campaign. Echiverri said he hopes Robredo will not reveal sensitive information to critics.

Robredo also requested to see the list of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency’s (PDEA) high-value targets, which the body agreed to but with certain conditions attached. PDEA chief Director General Aaron Aquino said he would only share this list in a “closed door meeting.” He added they will not provide Robredo a hard copy of the list.

The Palace said it is concerned by this development given that Robredo is speaking to foreign critics of the administration.

“She may not realize it but she could be treading on dangerous grounds. It could be an overreach of the granted authority hence the reminder,” said Panelo.

He added that such revelation to foreign entities is a crime “which has perpetual special disqualification from office, among its penalties.”

But Robredo on Sunday assured she is already aware that she is not allowed to reveal confidential information to the public.

Tayo ay magiging transparent as possible sa mga nangyayari para alam ng taong bayan kung anong nangyayari pero hindi natin ida-divulge ‘yung sensitive information na makakasama sa kampanya,” she said.

[Translation: We will be transparent as possible about developments for the public to know them but we will not divulge sensitive information that would compromise the campaign.]

Robredo added that it is within her mandate under Executive Order No. 54 to ensure high-value targets are caught.

Paano ko mae-ensure na mahuhuli ‘yung high-value targets kung hindi ko nga alam kung ilan ba ‘yung high-value targets and ano ba ‘yung status sa pagtugis ng high-value targets?” she argued.

[Translation: How will I ensure that these high value targets are caught if I do not know how many there are and what is the status of the pursuit after them.]

She also said she was not the one who approached the media about the request for the list in the first place but the agencies themselves that now express apprehensions.

Hindi nga namin ina-announce sa media na humihingi kami nito, nasa private communication ito…imbis na sagutin tayo, sagutin ‘yung ating sulat, sumagot sa media,” she defended.

However, she maintained transparency is still important in the campaign.

‘Yung transparency mahalaga ‘yun kasi ’yun ‘yung nage-exact ng accountability sa mga opisyal,” said Robredo.

[Translation: Transparency is important because that will exact accountability from our officials.]

Kung tinatago natin lahat, papaano natin mapapapanagot ‘yung mga hindi ginagawa ang kanilang trabaho,” she added.

[Translation: If we hide everything, how will we hold accountable those officials who are not doing their job.]

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddyboy Locsin said the President's warning means Robredo is "now in his complete confidence in his government."

"No secrets. Total trust. Reciprocate, Leni," he added.