VP Robredo keeps mum on Duterte’s offer to be drug czar
Marje Pelayo • October 29, 2019 • 407
MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo chose not to react on the recent challenge set by President Rodrigo Duterte offering her the position of a drug czar and lead the government’s anti-drug campaign.
Duterte on Monday (October 28) publicly announced that he would surrender his law enforcement power to Robredo so she could prove herself by solving the country’s problems on illegal drugs in a span of six months.
Robredo said Duterte’s remarks could have been an outburst of emotions just like many times in the past.
“Ayokong mag-comment hanggat wala pa (I don’t want to comment while [the letter] isn’t here yet),” Robredo said.
“Natuto na ako. Marami ng beses in the past (na) mayroong sinasabi na hindi naman mini-mean. May imbitasyon na babawiin. So, hintayin muna natin,” she added.
(I have learned my lesson. There were many times in the past wherein he would say something but didn’t really mean it. He would send invitations which he would later take back. So, let’s wait for now.)
With these developments, opposition lawmaker Albay 1st Rep. Edcel Lagman alleged that the President is “washing his hands of his failed brutal war on drugs, and is tossing the narcotics problem for Vice President Leni Robredo to solve.”
Liberal Party senator Kiko Pangilinan, meanwhile, teased the President for giving Robredo only six months when he himself couldn’t arrest ‘big fishes’ in illegal drugs operation in the country.
“Six months? Sila nga tatlong taon nang nakaupo, wala pa ring nahuhuling drug lord or ikinukulong na opisyal ng BoC sa tone-toneladang pinalusot na shabu sa Customs,” Pangilinan argued.
(Six months? They themselves have been in power for three years and they have yet to arrest a drug lord or put in jail a Bureau of Customs official for the tons of shabu that slipped past customs.)
“Iyong mga ninja cops na sangkot sa iligal na droga binigyan pa ng pinakamataas na pwesto sa PNP. Hindi naman patas ang usapan kapag 6 months lang. Dapat maging patas. Gawing 3 years para fair,” he added.
(Those ninja cops implicated in illegal drugs trade were even promoted to higher positions in the PNP. The deal wouldn’t be fair with only six months. They should be fair. Give [Robredo] three years to be fair.)
Duterte ally House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, meanwhile, said if Robredo would accept the President’s challenge, she should present a concrete plan of action to do it.
“(What’s that) health-based approach (that they say) when it comes to enforcement and when it comes to methamphetamine?” Cayetano said of Robredo’s proposed strategy.
“Kung may baril ang kaharap mo na nagbebenta ng droga at nandoon sa school at hinuli ng pulis, anong gagawin ng pulis, sabihin, ‘Pare, mag vitamins ka muna? (If the person you are apprehending for selling drugs in school has a gun, what do you think the police should do? Should they tell him: Take some vitamins first?),” he added.
But for former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, it would be better for President Duterte to fully relinquish his presidency instead of just challenging Robredo.
“Why not just surrender the presidency by resigning,” the opposition lawyer said.
But despite the headlines, former chief of police now Senator Panfilo Lacson stressed that the President, being the top authority in the land, holds the highest power over the country’s law enforcement officials.
When asked if he believes the President’s intention was to annoy Robredo, Lacson said it wasn’t sarcasm “but more of an expression of irritation and disgust.”
He added that: “Unless he delegates a blanket authority, including the power to hire and fire, no one else in the government bureaucracy can do it better than the chief executive under any given circumstances.”
“At best, it’s half meant,” the senator concluded. – MNP (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)
MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo has contributed nothing significant to the country’s anti-drug campaign, according to Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Chief Aaron Aquino.
This, despite Robredo’s brief appointment as co-chair of the Interagency Committee on Anti-Drugs (ICAD).
“She did not in any way supervise our people down there in the fields,” Aquino said.
“So I guess wala namang nabago o wala namang dapat glaring issues na makikita natin na talagang bumababa ang krimen o bumababa ang accomplishments natin sa drugs,” he added.
Aquino believes that Robredo could have understood the state and the scope of the illegal drug menace in the country if she had met with the different clusters of ICAD before she proceeded to establishing international connections such as with the US Embassy and the United Nations officials.
Aquino said, the Vice President only met with the enforcement cluster during her stay in ICAD.
“Should she met the four clusters, mas magiging malaki ang kaniyang scope of knowledge kung ano ang drug situation ng Pilipinas,“ Aquino noted.
“And maybe after meeting the four clusters, sana kung mayroon man siyang ma-i-implement na program or strategy to strengthen the ICAD, sana nagawa,” the PDEA Director General said.
Robredo’s camp, meanwhile, advised her critics to wait for the release of her recommendations and her own report on the status of the drug situation in the country.
“She’ll deliver (her) report soon. I suggest we just wait for that,” her spokesman. Atty. Barry Gutierrez said.
President Rodrigo Duterte sacked Robredo as the anti-drug czar for her ‘missteps’ in handling her position. The PDEA together with the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) is now working on the creation of an official database of drug pushers and user in the country which is expected to be released in 2020. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has dared Vice President Leni Robredo to speak up and expose what she claimed as her discoveries in the government’s war on drugs during her short stay as co-chair of the Interagency Committee on Anti-Drugs (ICAD).
“You seem to be na may impormasyon ka, ilabas mo, (You seem to have information, then expose it),” the President said emphatically.
Duterte dismissed Robredo from her post exactly 18 days after he appointed her to the position because the latter’s recent actions and public statements displeased the President especially her communications with officials of the United States and the United Nations.
After her dismissal, Robredo warned to expose what she knows about the controversial anti-drug program.
“Sa mga susunod na araw magbibigay ako ng ulat sa bayan. Sasabihin ko ang aking natuklasan at ang aking mga rekomendasyon,” Robredo said at a press briefing the day after she was fired on November 25.
(In the coming days, I will give a report to the people. I will speak of what I have discovered as well as my recommendation.)
“Kung sa tingin nila matatapos ito dito, hindi nila ako kilala. Nagsisimula pa lamang ako,” she added.
(If they think it will end here, then they don’t know me. This is just the beginning.)
But the President was unfazed by this warning.
He made certain that Robredo was having communications with former Human Rights Watch Asia Head Phelim Kine whom the President considers as among the critics of the government being a prosecutor in the International Criminal Court (ICC).
“You talked to almost all people instead of talking to the law enforcement, instead of talking to the barangay captain, instead of talking to people handling the rehabilitation,” he said referring to Robredo.
“I should say, she made an asshole of herself,” the President stressed.
Kine vocally expressed his willingness to go to Manila to help the Vice President in her programs and suggested the arrest of President Duterte and his cohorts because of the alleged human rights violations in the government’s anti-drug campaign. — MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has not decided yet as to who will assume the position vacated by former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, retired General Oscar Albayalde.
The President said he is carefully assessing the credentials of potential candidates to head the country’s main law enforcement arm.
Without an honest, corruption-free man to assume the job, the Chief Executive hinted on taking over the PNP.
“Ang akin, (for me) if they have even a single case of corruption, wala na, (it’s a no), you’re out,” the President warned.
“I would rather not appoint anybody for that matter. Ako na ang hahawak noon (I will take over). I will be the one directing the guidance and direction,” he added.
The President previously said he wants to be conscientious in choosing the next chief of the national police following controversies that tainted the credibility of Albayalde in relation to his alleged involvement with the so-called ninja cops or drug recycling issue that compelled him to resign.
President Duterte acknowledged, meanwhile, that there are a lot of things within the PNP that needs improvement and overhaul.
“But verily itong pulis maraming problema, pati generals nila kasali sa droga (Verily I say these policemen are the problems themselves, even their generals are involved in drugs),” the Chief Executive noted.
“Iyan ang ayaw ko diyan, pati generals. Hindi lumabas iyan hanggang hindi ako naging president (That’s what I hate, that even the generals [are involved]. Not until I became president that this was exposed),” he added. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)
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