Cayetano asks Robredo, opposition to stop ‘politicizing’ drug war
MANILA, Philippines — The opposition and Vice President Leonor “Leni” Robredo, who was named new anti-drug czar, should stop “politicizing” the administration’s brutal drug war, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano appealed Thursday.
“In the same manner na hinihingi ng oposisyon ‘wag pulitikahin ‘yung pagpasok ni Vice President Robredo, ‘yun din hingin namin sa oposisyon, ‘wag ding pulitikahin ang drug war,” Cayetano said in an interview at the House of Representatives.
(In the same manner that the opposition is asking not to politicize Vice President Robredo’s appointment, we also appeal that they stop from politicizing the drug war.)
Now that Robredo has accepted President Rodrigo Duterte’s appointment as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), Cayetano said his rival in the 2016 vice presidential race should lay down her plans to combat the illegal narcotics trade in the country.
“Now is the time for Vice President Leni to show how she can contribute. Ano’ng programa niya sa droga [What’s her program for drugs]?” he asked.
“We wish that she will succeed, we pray that she learns more about the drug problem and be able to contribute,” he continued.
The House leader also advised Robredo to familiarize herself first with the heads of the 21 member agencies of ICAD.
“Give her time to assess and to get comfortable into her new role,” Cayetano said.
Duterte’s offer to Robredo, leader of the opposition Liberal Party, came after she said there is a need to reassess the former’s bloody drug war following the campaign’s failure to curb the number of drug users in the country.
Citing data from the Dangerous Drugs Board and the President himself, the Vice President said the number of drug users grew to seven to eight million in 2019, from 1.8 million in 2016 when Duterte assumed office.
Over 5,500 individuals have been killed in the government’s crackdown against illegal narcotics, according to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, but human-rights groups have counted as much as 27,000 death toll.
Robredo said she plans to stop the killings of the innocent and the abuse of officials under her watch. /jpv