12/06/2016, 13.32
PHILIPPINES
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Vice president is ousted from the cabinet. Marcos’s son wants her place

Leni Robredo, 51, quit the cabinet yesterday after she was banned from its meetings. President Duterte does not like her opposition to the killing of suspected drug dealers, to the death penalty and to Marcos’s burial as a hero. The late dictator’s son, who had lost the race for the vice-presidency, could get the post after all if the Supreme Court rules in his favour.

Manila (AsiaNews) – Filipino Vice President Leni Robredo has quit the Filipino cabinet because of her opposition to President Rodrigo Duterte’s policies.

“This is not the time for fear. It is a time for conviction. It is a time for courage,” she said yesterday after announcing her decision to leave the government.

A lawyer by profession, she was told that she had been banned from cabinet meetings, so she decided to quit.

The president and the vice president are elected separately in the Philippines, and the current pair belong to rival parties. However, Robredo joined the cabinet, following a tradition in which the vice president is given a cabinet position.

Robredo is a member of the Liberal Party, the same as former President Benigno Aquino, whose presidential candidate, Manuel Roxas, was defeated by Duterte at the polls.

The current vice president won by a narrow margin against Ferdinand Marcos Jr, son of the late dictator.

A source told AsiaNews that Robredo “was invited to attend the cabinet two weeks after Duterte took office. Her critical views with respect to the president's political line are well known."

In particular, the vice president has openly criticised the president’s war on drug, which has claimed more than 4,800 lives and led to accusations that the government is engaged in widespread extrajudicial killings.

“I will oppose all policies with a stronger voice . . . that I think are detrimental to the Filipino people,” Robredo said.

She also vowed to speak out against plans by the Duterte administration to bring back the death penalty.

Robredo’s dismissal, said the source, "increases speculation about Marcos Jr who has challenged the outcome of the election for the vice presidency. The Marcos family is very close to Duterte.

“During his visit to China in late October, the president introduced the late dictator’s son as a potential vice-president for next year.

“Since the Supreme Court ruled in favour of Marcos’s burial in the Heroes’ Cemetery, many people think that judges are well disposed to changing the outcome of the elections," the source said.

Robredo said that she would not allow her electoral victory to be taken from her.

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