Robredo, Naga City cry foul over ‘shabu hotbed’ tag
The city council of Naga will file a Resolution of Indignation to condemn President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent pronouncement that the city was a hotbed of “shabu” (crystal meth), Vice President Leni Robredo and Naga City Mayor John Bongat said on Saturday.
“(A)ccusations like that is an insult against those from Naga. That’s unfair. That is why we are protesting this in the strongest of terms,” Robredo said. “This morning, the city council gave me their Resolution of Indignation for (the damage) done to the reputation of Naga. We will not take this sitting down.”
In a speech before business leaders in Malacañang on Tuesday, the President downplayed Robredo’s capability as his successor and said that she could not improve on things as Naga City was “the hotbed of shabu in the past years.”
Top ranking city
Said Robredo of her hometown: “We also have a problem with drugs, but to say that … we are a hotbed, that is a big slap to everyone especially those who exert efforts to rid the city of illegal drugs.”
The Vice President noted that Naga has recently ranked second most competitive city in the country and was recognized as the top city when it came to economic dynamism by the National Competitiveness Council this year.
“Things like that are not easy to achieve,” Robredo said.
“If the President was targeting me, then it should just be me, because if he says it is Naga City, then it is all of us,” the Vice President said, referring to the President’s previous moves, including removing her from her Cabinet post.
Malacañang shrugged off the city council’s plan to admonish the President.
The plan was a “waste of government resources” and of “time and energy,” said presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.
“They should (instead) exercise their power to rid the city of the menace of shabu and other illegal drugs,” Roque said in a phone interview.
He added that the President made the statement about Naga City being a hotbed for shabu based on information he got from the appropriate agencies.
Robredo said that Christian Frivaldo, the acting regional director of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Bicol region, had said himself that “we are not on the list of hotbeds of shabu. What (President Duterte) said had no basis.”
Bongat also pointed out that Naga had put up a permanent office for the Dangerous Drugs Board “that focuses on prosecution, advocacy and education, enforcement of drug laws and rehabilitation.”
The local government of Naga has been very cooperative with President Duterte’s campaign against drugs “so it came as a big surprise to us that such statement will be coming from no less than the President himself,” Bongat said.
“This resolution is us making a unified stand. We are ready for whatever consequence may come after this resolution. There is democracy and if we do not speak up, nothing will happen. If you think something is wrong or something has no basis, then we have to speak up,” the mayor added. —WITH A REPORT FROM CHRISTINE O. AVENDAÑO
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