MANILA – Vice President Leni Robredo has finally accepted President Rodrigo Duterte’s offer of a lead role in his war on drugs.
Robredo said that she is ready to serve as the co-chairman of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), alongside the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chief Aaron Aquino.
“Kung ito ang pagkakataon para matigil ang patayan ng mga inosente at mapanagot ang kailangan managot, papasanin ko ito kaya tinatanggap ko ang trabahong ibinibigay sa akin ng Pangulo,” Robredo told reporters on Wednesday.
The appointment came days after the Duterte offered Robredo to be his drug czar and give her “full powers” to run the government’s war on drugs for six months.
This, despite calls by allies, Sen. Leila De Lima and former senator Antonio Trillanes, on Robredo not to take the challenge.
“Maraming nagpapahayag ng pangamba na hindi sinsero ang alok, na ito ay isang trap na ang habol lang ay siraan at pahiyain ako,” Robredo said.
She hopes changes in the administration’s approach in curbing the illegal drug trade in the country.
“Mula simula ang gusto ko ay maging maayos ang kampanya kontra droga,” Robredo said. “Kung ito ang pagkakataon para matigil ang patayan ng mga inosente at mapanagot ang kailangang managot, papasanin ko ito.”
President Duterte made true to his declaration of appointing Robredo as part of the administration’s antidrug committee following the latter’s comment that the war on drugs is obviously failing.
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.
“Simula pa lang, handa na tayong tumulong sa ikakabuti ng bayan. Pero kalianman, hindi natin isusuko ang ating paniniwala,” Robredo said. “Kung ang iniisip nila na sa pagpayag ko ay tatahimik ako, nagkakamali sila.”
“Hindi laro laro ang usapang ito. Seryosong usapan ito ‘pag buhay ang nakataya,” she added. “Mr. President, dalawa’t kalahating taon na lang ang naiiwan sa administrasyon. Hindi pa huli ang lahat, puwede pa nating pagtulungan ito.”
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 Malacañang’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