Robredo camp: Don’t make VP a scapegoat for ‘failed’ drug war
MANILA, Philippines – The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo has assured President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration that they are willing to help solve the country’s drug problem.
However, what Robredo would not accept, according to spokesperson Barry Gutierrez, is being eventually blamed for all the problems that the bloody campaign caused, and the failure of the government to eradicate the drug menace.
“Since before and up to now, Vice President Robredo is always ready to help,” Gutierrez said in a statement on Friday.
“What she will not stand for is being made a scapegoat for all the shortcomings of the ‘drug war’ for the past three and a half years. This admin made the impossible promise to end crime and drugs in six months, and if they are now being called to account for their failure to deliver, they should not blame VP Leni for it,” he added.
President Rodrigo Duterte recently said he would “surrender” his law enforcement power to Robredo after she criticized anew his war against illegal drugs. Specifically, Duterte said he wants Robredo to be his drug czar with an equivalent rank of Cabinet Secretary.
Robredo supposedly told foreign media that the drug war is a failure and has to be stopped. She, however, clarified that what she called for was a mere reassessment of the campaign, which has claimed the life of more than 5,000 people but remains prevalent in the country.
The Vice President has been refusing to comment on the President’s offer, as she doubts the sincerity of Duterte’s offer.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo, meanwhile, urged Robredo to accept the post and help the government instead of merely criticizing the programs.
But Gutierrez stressed that Robredo once raised concerns about the drug war – as early as 2016 – but it supposedly fell on deaf ears.
“As early as 2016, VP Leni engaged with DILG and other agencies to give suggestions on how to improve government efforts against illegal drugs,” he noted.
“Her inputs were not acted on, and the admin excluded her from further discussions soon after,” he claimed.
Gutierrez was referring to a January 2017 letter to then-Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno, where issues about the drug war – specifically the Oplan Double Barrel – were specified.
The Vice President’s spokesman then urged Duterte to take a rest for the holidays so that he can relax and put his mind away from Robredo. He also insisted that Malacañang could have a more proper way of informing the Vice President about the drug czar offer.
“If the President is seeking help about the drug war, maybe they can use a better avenue, not through text or by showing off to the media,” Gutierrez quipped.
“Finally, it is unfortunate that on the eve of one of our most holy days, a time for family and for prayer, the President is launching yet another tirade against VP Leni. Maybe he is just tired and feeling ill. May he have the chance to rest this All Souls’ Day,” he added.
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