Watch: Duterte Appoints VP Robredo as HUDCC Chief, Here’s Why the President Changed His Mind (Video)

President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed VP Leni Robredo as the head of Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC). As a response, the vice president accepted the appointment, and thanked the president for finally offering her a cabinet position. Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II explained why Duterte changed his mind.

This Thursday, July 7 during a press conference in Malacañang, PTV-4 news reporter Rocky Ignacio asked President Duterte to confirm if he has plans of offering VP Robredo a cabinet post. As a response, he immediately asked his staff to contact the vice president, and they talked over the phone. Their personal conversation was heard by the reporters

As you can see on the video, President Duterte politely asked VP Robredo to be the HUDCC chief, and even addressed the vice president as “Ma’m.” The president told her that he decided to call her in front of the reporters so that they will stop asking him about this issue. He can also be heard saying that VP Robredo accepting the said cabinet post.

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Shortly after Duterte-Robredo phone conversation, VP Leni Robredo released a statement on her official website. As translated to English, the vice president herself thanked President Duterte for offering her the position, adding that providing housing for the poor and homeless is one of the advocacies of her late husband, DILG Secretary Jessie Robredo.

With this development, many netizens noted that VP Robredo joining Duterte’s cabinet is a sign of unity in the government, and will inspire Filipinos. However, some of them (especially Duterte bashers) criticized President Duterte for changing his mind on this matter, noting that the president was not really sincere in his cabinet offer to VP Robredo.

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As we all know, President Duterte earlier said that he was ‘non-commital’ in offering VP Robredo a cabinet position, especially that she is on the Liberal Party (LP). He said he does not want to hurt his good friend, Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, who lost the vice presidential race to Robredo in a very slm margin and questionable results.

But while many people raised their eyebrows over this development, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II was quick to defend President Duterte’s change of mind and finally offered VP Robredo to be one of his cabinet members. The two highest officials of the country first met during the AFP change of command ceremony, and later in Malacañang.

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“The past two meetings between the two are very amiable. I believe that was the key for the President to offer her a position and for the Vice President to accept it. There must be some reconsideration of the decision so here we are, I think this is very good for the country,” Aguirre said, with VP Robredo saying that President Duterte was nice to her.