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VP drops DepEd, quits Cabinet

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Sara to lead oppositionβ€”Roque

Vice President Sara Duterte tendered her resignation as a member of the Cabinet on Wednesday, a move that was immediately accepted by the President.

β€œUniteam has formally been dissolved and (VP Sara) has just become the leader of the opposition. The line has been drawn,” said former Duterte administration presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.

β€œI hereby tender my irrevocable resignation as Secretary of the Department of Education (DepEd) and co-vice chairperson of the NTF-ELCAC effective 19 July 2024,” Duterte wrote in her one-page letter.

β€œFor a proper and orderly turn-over, I have prepared a 30-day transition plan for all the nine strands in the Central office, as well as for the different Boards and Councils chaired by DepEd and SEAMEO.”

β€œI shall remain of service to the country through the various programs, activities and projects of the Office of the Vice President (OVP). I thank you for the opportunity to have served as a member of your Cabinet,” she added.

Presidential Communications Secretary Cheloy Garafil said the resignation was promptly accepted.

β€œShe (Duterte) declined to give a reason why. She will continue to serve as Vice President. We thank her for her service,” Garafil said.

Senate President Francis Escudero said Duterte’s resignation was β€œinevitable from the time her father, former President Rodrigo Duterte, and her siblings and allies started attacking the President and members of the First family.”

β€œIt’s inevitability became more pronounced when she was already silent and not expressing her support on certain policy issues such as the West Philippine Sea, the Bagong Pilipinas Hymn, and the Quiboloy cases and attempted arrest, (among others),” Escudero said.

House Deputy Minority leader France Castro said Duterte’s resignation β€œmarks the open war between the former allies and the upcoming escalation of hostilities between the two camps.”

In April, President Marcos came to Duterte’s defense, saying there was no need to replace her as Education Secretary amid questions on her loyalty as an alter-ego of the Chief Executive.

Mr. Marcos also assured the public their working relationship will not be affected amid the feud between the Vice President and First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos.

Mrs. Marcos earlier did not mince words in expressing her disappointment at the Vice President, saying the latter crossed the line for laughing at insinuations that the President is a drug user.

β€œBad shot na yan sa akin (She’s a bad shot to me),” Mrs. Marcos said in an earlier interview.

β€œI was hurt because my husband will do everything to protect you… You ran together right? But you will go to a rally where they called your President a drug user, right? You’re going to laugh – is that the proper thing to do?” Mrs. Marcos added.

Relations between the Marcos and Duterte families have plummeted in the past two years.

Fronting a rally of supporters in his home city Davao on January 28, Rody Duterte accused Mr. Marcos of being a β€œdrug addict,” while his youngest son, Mayor Sebastian Duterte, said Mr. Marcos should resign.

The President hit back the next day, claiming that his predecessor’s long-term use of the powerful opioid fentanyl had taken a toll on his health.

The former president has also urged the military and police to unseat Mr. Marcos if he pursued his proposal to amend the constitution, and threatened to get his southern home region of Mindanao to secede.

The Vice President also recently questioned the police operation against Quiboloy, saying her father’s spiritual adviser – who is wanted for acts of child abuse, sexual abuse, and human trafficking, among others – was being unfairly targetted.

In a press conference yesterday, Duterte said she resigned β€œnot out of weakness but brought out of true compassion for our teachers and Filipino youth.”

β€œAlthough I will no longer manage the department, we will continue to promote the quality of education that our Filipinos deserve…Even though I am not the standing Education Secretary, I will remain a mother who monitors and stands up for the welfare of each teacher and student in the Philippines,” she added.

Escudero said the Vice President has every right to have policy differences with her Chief Executive.

β€œI believe that people love and respect her precisely for that… for having and fighting for what she believes in and for her own beliefs,” he said.

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III, for his part, urged Mr. Marcos to immediately appoint the next DepEd Secretary.

β€œHe or she must be someone who has dedicated his or her life to education and can show the track record for it,” he said.

Editor’s Note: This is an updated article. Originally posted with the headline “VP Sara Duterte steps down as member of Marcos cabinet”.


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