MANILA, Philippines — The "irreconcilable differences" that prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to order Vice President Leni Robredo not to attend Cabinet meetings is likely the latter's stand on the burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos and extrajudicial killings in the country, a Malacañang official said.
Robredo has been vehemently opposing the decision of Duterte to order the burial of the ousted dictator at the Libingan ng mga Bayani or Heroes' Cemetery.
The vice president had also condemned the spate of extrajudicial killings of drug suspects and called on authorities to investigate and prosecute those who are responsible behind them.
Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar said that the president had the realization that he and the vice president could not come to terms in some issues and policies and running the government.
"It's possible that the burial of the former President Marcos is one of the issues that the president had to contend with... because if we go back to the statements of the vice president and her statements ran contrary to the statements of the president with regard to the burial of former president," Andanar said in a telephone interview with ANC's Headstart.
The Communications secretary noted that Duterte does not feel comfortable with the statements of Robredo in the same way the he was very vocal about United States President Barack Obama's opposition against his war on drugs.
"You add to that the statements of the vice president about extrajudicial killings and we all know that the president vehemently denies extrajudicial killings in our country and that is not government policy," Andanar added.
Andanar also noted that there are some members of the Cabinet who are also not in favor of the Marcos burial but they did not openly oppose the president.
Cabinet members who were not in favor of the burial of the remains of the ousted dictator said that they understand the president and vowed to cooperate with Duterte despite differences, Andanar said.
The Communications secretary also revealed that some Cabinet members have been expressing concern about Robredo's statements against Duterte's policies.
"There have been some murmurings about the Cabinet about the statements of the vice president the past few months and it did not sit well with some members of the Cabinet," Andanar said.
However, the "murmurings" were only among Cabinet members and did not reach the president, according to Andanar.
"It was only expressed through the Cabinet members, not to the president so I wouldn't really know whoever told the president what some of the Cabinet members felt during that time," the Communications secretary said.
Robredo is set to officially file her letter of resignation from Duterte's Cabinet on Monday. She said that the president's directive for her to desist from attending all Cabinet meetings prompted her to step down as Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council secretary.
"This is the last straw, because it makes it impossible for me to perform my duties. Hence, I am tendering my resignation from the Cabinet on Monday, December 5, 2016,” Robredo said in a statement on Sunday.
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