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After initial hesitation, President Rodrigo Duterte has finally decided to include Vice President Leni Robredo in his Cabinet.
The President has designated Robredo as the new chair of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and asked her to join the Cabinet meeting on Monday. This was the same Cabinet post held by former Vice President Jejomar Binay under the Aquino administration.
“Pwede ka ba sa housing? Can you be the housing secretary?” Duterte said in a phone conversation with Robredo on Thursday afternoon.
Robredo accepted the President’s offer to head the HUDCC during the brief phone call.
The President contacted Robredo on the spot via telephone while granting an interview with government owned PTV 4 on Thursday afternoon after a Cabinet security meeting in the Palace.
Duterte told Robredo that he wanted to talk to her since the media have repeatedly asked him about a possible government post for the Vice President.
When Robredo apparently accepted the offer to head the HUDCC, Duterte informed her that Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea would arrange the appointment paper.
Duterte said he expects Robredo attend the upcoming Cabinet meeting. He added that Robredo will also be appraised on “security matters” and other concerns in the country.
The latest Cabinet post of Robredo comes after the recent cordial meetings between the President and the Vice President. The two leaders met for the first time onstage at the Armed Forces change of command in Quezon City last week. It was followed by Robredo’s courtesy call on the President in Malacanang last Monday.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, in a later press conference in the Palace, revealed that the President reached out to Robredo via a phone call and offered the Cabinet post on Thursday afternoon.
Aguirre said they could not hear the voice of Robredo on the other line but “from the face of the President,” it appeared she accepted the post. (Genalyn Kabiling)