Duterte: Robredo has 3 years to lead war on drugs
The next chief of the Philippine National Police should heed the orders of Vice President Leni Robredo if she accepts President Duterte’s offer to become the country’s antidrugs czar until 2022.
“If Leni accepts it, anything that has to do with drugs and criminality, you ask her. I will put her in charge. Let’s see, I will not interfere,” said the President on Thursday night.
‘Maybe she can handle it’
“Tell her to accept my offer. She will be famous. I can’t do it, so maybe she can handle it,” he said in an interview in Davao City.
The President said the “talkative” Robredo might have a better method of dealing with the scourge of illegal drugs, and she should be bringing answers and solutions, not just questions and problems.
“She’s the talkative one, here and abroad … If she knows a better method of dealing with the problem, then there might be a way,” the President said.
“If you criticize, you must have the answer. If you question, you must have the answer. Don’t just give me problems,” he said.
The President made the remarks hours after Malacañang renewed Mr. Duterte’s offer to Robredo to become the antinarcotics czar, with a Cabinet secretary portfolio.
Mr. Duterte first issued the challenge to Robredo last Monday, after she had criticized his war on illegal drugs as a “failure.”
The President said he was giving the Vice President six months to deal with the problem of illegal drugs if she was really brighter or better than him.
After visiting his parents’ grave on Thursday night, Mr. Duterte told reporters that he would not just give Robredo six months, but until 2022 for her to lead the government’s war on illegal drugs.
He explained that he must first make Robredo, the leader of the opposition, part of his official family if he will appoint her as antidrugs czar.
“I don’t have to go to Congress. I will just make her a Cabinet member. Then all drug cases and all things, matters in connection with drugs is hers until the end of my term,” Mr. Duterte said.
If Robredo accepts, this would be her second post as a member of the President’s Cabinet.
In 2016, she was named the chair of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council. She resigned later that year after being ordered by the President to “desist from attending all Cabinet meetings.”
No formal offer yet
The Vice President’s camp has not yet received any formal offer of any position, and declined to comment on Mr. Duterte’s “hypothetical offer.”
Meanwhile, the President renewed his warning to the public not to vote for Robredo if she runs for the highest post in the land.
Mr. Duterte lambasted her as a “lawyer who knew nothing,” recalling her criticism of his stance that policemen can accept small gifts given to them out of gratitude, and that it is provided by the law.
“That’s my problem with Leni. If she becomes President and does not know the law,” he said.
The spokesperson of the Vice President told Mr. Duterte to stop making Robredo a scapegoat for his failure to deliver on a key campaign promise to end the country’s drug and crime problem in six months.
“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,” lawyer Barry Gutierrez said on Friday.
Gutierrez added that it was the Duterte administration that made “the impossible promise” to end crime and drugs in six months.
“If they are now being called to account for their failure to deliver, they should not blame VP Leni for it,” Gutierrez said.
Gutierrez also pointed out the fact that as early as 2016, Robredo engaged with the Department of the Interior and Local Government and other agencies to give suggestions on how to improve the government’s efforts against illegal drugs.
“Her inputs were not acted on, and the admin excluded her from further discussions soon after,” Gutierrez said.
Gutierrez said that while the Vice President was ready to step in amid the administration’s seeming cry for help, she would do so only once the Duterte leadership approached her officially.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.