DAVAO CITY—Not in a formal meeting but over a casual phone call.
That was how President Rodrigo Duterte offered Vice President Leni Robredo the housing portfolio in the middle of a media interview at Malacañang on Thursday afternoon.
“Pwede ka housing ma’am? Can you be the housing secretary? Tanggapin mo ma’am?” Duterte asked Robredo over the phone.
Robredo will head the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), the government’s housing arm previously held by former Vice Presidents Jejomar Binay and Noli De Castro.
In an RTVM video released to the media, Duterte talked to Robredo to “satisfy the questions everybody had been asking him.”
“Kasi panay na ang tanong. Nahihiya na ako ma’am eh. Nakikinig ang buong cabinet ma’am…Alam mo ma’am kasi para mahinto na tong tanong tanong,” he told Robredo.
(The question keeps on popping up. I am ashamed already. The whole cabinet is listening. You know Ma’am, to stop these endless questions.)
It was unclear what Robredo said on the other line but Duterte asked him not to be apologetic.
Robredo readily accepted the offer. The President then told her the Executive Secretary will personally hand her the appointment order.
Duterte also invited Robredo to attend the next Cabinet meeting on Monday next week.
“So that you will be on time with the next Cabinet meeting and even on security matters so you’d be kept abreast of what is happening to our country. Just for you to know,” he said.
Before Duterte stopped talking to the media, he said in his earlier interviews he is not keen on giving Robredo a post in his cabinet because it would hurt the feelings of defeated vice presidential candidate and his close friend Bongbong Marcos. TVJ