MANILA, Philippines – Other Cabinet officials expressed in public their opposition to the burial of Ferdinand Marcos so why were they not barred from attending Cabinet meetings like Vice President Leni Robredo?
According to the Palace, the other Cabinet members were spared from Robredo's fate because their opinions stemmed from "ideological conviction."
Leftist Cabinet members like Agrarian Secretary Rafael Mariano and National Anti-Poverty Commission chairperson Liza Maza attended the November 25 rally protesting the Marcos burial.
A video message from Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, also identified with the Left, was played during the rally organized by Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacañang (CARMMA) and militant groups.
"The President recognizes that certain members, Cabinet members, because of their personal conviction and ideological beliefs were actually voicing – he allowed them that," said Abella.
For the President, the 3 officials, due to their Leftist affiliation, did what was expected of them.
"He said, 'This is the song of the Left,' in other words, it’s expected of them," said Abella.
Was Duterte being unfair in imposing standards on Robredo not imposed on the Leftist Cabinet members?
"It's not a double standard but basically it was not a political action against, it was simply an expression of their ideological conviction," said Abella.
Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr has said it was Robredo's actions outside Cabinet meetings that led Duterte to bar her from the meetings.
"If you are a member of the Cabinet, you should respect the presiding officer, who happens to be the President. You cannot just participate in the deliberation and then when you get out, you criticize," said Evasco on Tuesday in a dzRH interview.
Asked why Taguiwalo was not subjected to the same treatment as Robredo, Evasco said the Social Welfare Secretary's case is different.
"Secretary Taguiwalo expresses her thoughts, but she doesn’t spin, she doesn’t direct anonymity with the administration, just because the administration is perceived to be supporting the burial of Marcos," said Evasco.
Robredo has said that her vocal opposition to the Marcos burial likely caused the biggest rift between her and Duterte.
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at email@example.com.