VP camp: Only Duterte can define, limit Robredo role in ICAD
MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo’s spokesperson has reminded officials that only President Rodrigo Duterte can define or limit the role of Robredo as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD).
Former lawmaker Barry Gutierrez said this on Monday, Nov. 18, after another high-ranking official — this time Philippine National Police (PNP) officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa — urged Robredo to take on the advocacy and rehabilitation aspect of the anti-drug campaign instead.
Gutierrez said Robredo was willing to listen to Gamboa, who asked her to leave the law enforcement aspect to the PNP and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
The Vice President, he said, was “willing to listen, is open to suggestions.”
“But I would like to remind General Gamboa that she was not designated to lead government rehabilitation efforts,” Gutierrez said.
“She was designated to lead all government efforts against illegal drugs,” he said.
“In the end, it’s not going to be General Gamboa who will set the parameters, it will be the President,” Gutierrez added.
“And as of now, from my understanding, the mandate given to VP Leni is actually take the lead,” he said.
Earlier, Gamboa remarked that there was no need for Robredo to obtain the list of high-value targets of the anti-drug campaign because it “would not matter”.
The acting PNP chief suggested that Robredo limit herself to the rehabilitation component of the campaign as it fits her view of the drug menace as a health issue.
Since ICAD is composed of four subcommittees “or four different thrusts,” Gamboa said, “why would VP not take the advocacy and the rehabilitation (components) which are fit to what she is saying that illegal drugs is actually a health problem?”
“So probably that could fall on advocacy and rehabilitation,” Gamboa had said.
Law enforcement, which would involve raids and operations against drug suspects, “could be best left to those who know it,” the acting PNP chief added.
Those who know it included the PNP, PDEA and National Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice, he said.
It was not the first time an official urged Robredo not to dip her fingers into the law enforcement component of the anti-drug campaign.
Before she even accepted the appointment as ICAD co-chair, PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino, Robredo’s ICAD co-chair, said the Vice President could help in the rehabilitation component of the campaign.
Aquino said Robredo would fail in the law enforcement component of the war on drugs because of her inexperience.
Gutierrez said it was better if it was Duterte who would define the roles of Robredo and Aquino amid speculation on who should be performing which tasks in ICAD.
“From the start, that’s what we’ve been saying,” Gutierrez said. “The best way to resolve these issues soon is if they issue some kind of an executive order amending EO No. 15, or clarifying, or calling the Vice President and discussing with her,” he said.
“So far there has been no communication, but it is clear that they’re the ones who needs to address that particular issue. It’s the President who issued this designation, it’s the President who offered the post,” Gutierrez said.
Edited by TSB
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