Palace OK with scrapping ‘Tokhang’
Updated @ 6:28 p.m., Nov. 11, 2019
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang is okay with the proposal of Vice President Leni Robredo to scrap Oplan Tokhang and create a new anti-drug campaign.
“Well, as we have said we will give her all that she needs,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a press briefing on Monday. “
As I said in my statement she should be given wide latitude and she should pursue her own scheme of things in pursuing the drug war initiated by this administration,” he added.
Robredo, who is now the government’s drug czar, said there was a need for an anti-narcotics crackdown without senseless killings.
Tokhang — a combination of the Cebuano words “toktok“ and “hangyu,” meaning to “knock and plead” — is a key component of President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war, which has killed 5,526 people since it was launched on June 30, 2016.
Pressed if Malacañang would be in favor of scrapping “Oplan Tokhang,” Panelo said: “It is a yes — if she wants it.”
“VP Leni is in charge, so whatever she feels that should be enforced, we will do it,” he added.
The Palace official said Malacañang would be open to scrapping Tokhang “if that will be effective insofar as the drug war is concerned.”
“She has been given the authority,” Panelo said, referring to Robredo.
“I’ll give everything to her,” he added, quoting the President.
Quoting the President further, Panelo said: “Ibibigay ko sa kaniya. Bahala na siya kung anong gusto niya. Basta siya ang on top of the situation there.”
[I’ll give it to her. It’s up to her what she wants. She’s on top of the situation there.]
Panelo said the President told him that he would invite Robredo for a meeting after accepting his offer to be his drug czar.
“I’ll be the one to invite her,” he said, quoting the President.
Robredo also earlier said she would not attend Cabinet meetings unless invited by Malacañang.
“Actually, if you are a member of the Cabinet, you don’t need an invitation. If there is a scheduled Cabinet meeting, you are supposed to attend unless you cannot and you have to notify the Cabinet secretary,” Panelo said.
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