MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has formally appointed Vice President Leni Robredo as the co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.
According to Panelo, the President signed Robredo’s appointment paper on Oct 31 but was only released publicly on Tuesday.
Robredo’s appointment came days after the President offered the Vice President to be his drug czar and give her “full powers” to run the government’s war on drugs for six months.
“We want Robredo to accept the appointment. We want her to succeed because her success would be the success of the Filipino people,” Panelo said in an interview with CNN Philippines.
Panelo also said that President Duterte is hopeful that Robredo will accept ICAD designation and she will also be given a free hand to do what she wants within the law to enforce the war on drugs.
“The President was thinking when she was criticizing she must have some ideas in her mind that would effectively implement the drug war. When you’re saying that it’s ineffective, you must have some ideas to make it effective,” he added.
Created through Executive Order 15 issued in March 2017, the ICAD was mandated to ensure the effective conduct of anti-illegal drug operations and arrest of high-value drug personalities down to the street-level peddles and users and cleanse the bureaucracy of unscrupulous personnel involved in illegal drug activities, among other functions.
“The moment she accepts it, she would be directing the offices under her. It’s now her call, whatever she wants to do with it,” Panelo said. “If she declines it, it means that all her criticisms have no basis at all.”
Last month, Robredo called on Duterte to allow the United Nations to investigate his war on drugs which she said was “obviously, not working,” prompting Malacanang’s challenge for her to lead the drug war.
She later clarified that she meant to urge administration leaders to “step back and assess” the narcotics crackdown./PN