Duterte to remove Robredo from anti-drug post if she shares state secrets with foreign entities—Palace
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte will remove Vice President Leni Robredo from her post as co-chair of the government’s anti-drug body should she disclose state secrets to foreign individuals and entities, Malacañang said Sunday.
“The President stated that disclosing classified information of the Philippine government to foreign individuals and entities will cause the removal of the Vice President from her current post,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement on Sunday.
“Any appointment made by the appointing authority must be exercised strictly in accord with law and never diametrically opposed to the interest and security of the state,” he added.
According to the Palace official, “revealing state secrets to foreign individuals and entities as well as welcoming those who have trampled the country’s sovereignty” would be “damaging to the welfare of the Filipino people.”
Disclosing classified information of the Philippine government is a crime under Article 229 of the Revised Penal Code “which has perpetual special disqualification from office, among its penalties,” Panelo added.
This comes after Robredo, who the was designated as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), held meetings with anti-drug officials from the US and the United Nations.
Last July, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) adopted an Iceland-initiated resolution that would prompt the rights body to launch a thorough review of the human rights situation in the Philippines, including drug war killings under the Duterte administration.
The vice president had earlier said she feels that the country’s problem with illegal drugs “should first be solved internally.”
But added that she has no problem inviting over probers from the UN rights body if she believes the government “is not doing anything to punish whoever needs to be punished.”
“She may not realize it but she could be treading on dangerous grounds. It could be an overreach of the granted authority hence the reminder,” Panelo went on.
The Presidential spokesperson also denied what he called were “unfounded” and “unproductive” speculations that the President’s pronouncement on Robredo’s removal as ICAD co-chair “validates the suspicion that the appointment was a trap.”
“Others pessimists even contend that with the President’s remarks, he had begun clipping her wings so as not to fulfill her mandate,” Panelo said.
“The President is merely reminding VP Leni of the imperatives as well as the limits of her appointment lest she transgresses it,” he added.
Panelo said that the Constitution “vests to the President all the powers of the Executive, and all executive officials act under his control.”
“Not only is it within the President’s discretion, but it is his constitutional duty not only to enforce all the laws but to ensure that all his alter egos, including a Co-Chairperson of the (ICAD), are performing their respective functions within the scope and ambit of the law,” he further said.
Edited by JE
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