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It would be such a great waste of her talent and motivation if Vice President Leni Robredo is not assigned any position in the administration of President Duterte. She could help boost the efforts of President Duterte to carry out urgently needed changes to improve the lives of the people, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said the other day.
The principal task of a Vice President under our Constitution is to take over the nation’s leadership in case of the death, permanent disability, removal from office, or resignation of the President. Then Vice President Elpidio Quirino assumed the presidency on the death of President Manual A. Roxas in 1948. Vice President Carlos P. Garcia took over when President Ramon Msgsaysay died in a plane crash in 1957. Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo succeeded to the presidency when President Joseph Estrada was impeached and the Supreme Court ruled that he was deemed to have resigned in the face of EDSA 2 in 2001.
The Constitution provides that the Vice President may also be appointed as a member of the cabinet. Garcia served as secretary of foreign affairs under Roxas, Arroyo as social welfare secretary under Estrada, Noli de Castro as housing development council chief under Arroyo, and Jejomar Binay also as housing chief as well as adviser on OFW concerns under President Aquino.
Senator Lacson was moved to urge that an appropriate government position be given to Vice President Robredo after President Duterte said he was not appointing her to any cabinet post. There was a move for her to be named to the National Anti-Poverty Commission but the President said the post was going to a recommendee of the National Democratic Front.
The two top officials held separate inductions last Thursday, June 30 – Duterte in Malacañang and Robredo at the Quezon City Reception House where she will hold office. They met for the first time since the June 9 election when they both attended the Change of Command ceremony of the Armed Forces of the Philippines at Camp Aguinaldo the next day, July 1.
During the election campaign, Robredo spoke on her anti-poverty and pro-women advocacies, which she said she hoped to pursue should her party, the Liberal Party, win in the presidential election. It was President Duterte of the PDP-Laban, however, who won in a landslide vote.
The new President is well within his rights to appoint the ones he wants to positions in his administration. But, as Senator Lacson pointed out, Vice President Robredo could be a great help to the President in carrying out his promise to help the poor of the country have a better life. “I have no doubt that VP Leni’s heart is in the right place in this regard,” he said.