NOVEMBER 14, 2019 – High-ranking government officials are not required to attend Cabinet meetings at Malacañan Palace unless the agenda covers their area of concern, the presidential spokesman said on Thursday.
Secretary Salvador Panelo explained the Cabinet secretary only invites select agency heads, following his remark in a television interview saying the vice president need not to be present if it’s not about the war on drugs.
Vice President Leni Robredo started her job as the anti-drug czar with a Cabinet rank on November 6 but has not been requested yet in any of the meetings.
“It’s optional for us to attend because if it’s not your topic then you’ll have to stay there the rest of the meeting until the wee hours of the morning,” Panelo said in a press briefing.
“Kung hindi ka naman kasama roon sa agenda, mas masaya siguro kung hindi ka na aattend. That’s why I said you [Robredo] should be thankful, pumunta ka lang kung alam mo topic mo,” he furthered.
Panelo said President Rodrigo Duterte will ask Robredo himself if her presence is needed. Her absence in the meetings will not prohibit her from commenting on other issues beyond her position, he clarified.
“There is transcript for that and that is given to all members of the Cabinet. If you feel commenting on any topic you can do that,” he said.
Prior to her designation in the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-illegal Drugs, Robredo was the chairperson of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council.
The opposition leader quit her post in December last year due to Duterte’s order for her “to desist from attending all Cabinet meetings.”