Robredo never thought of rebuffing Duterte’s drug czar offer
MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo has never thought of backing down from President Rodrigo Duterte’s offer to be his administration’s drug czar.
This was revealed by Robredo herself in a speech on Friday at the University of Santo Tomas, even sharing to her audience how she’s able to face any challenges that come her way.
“While a lot of people were surprised that I accepted the post, I never – even for a moment – thought of turning my back on the opportunity to serve our country,” she said, as she spoke during the First International Conference on Gender and Adult Literacy and Active Citizenship for Social Transformation.
“After all, we women are truly made of sterner stuff than most people think. Don’t you think so?” she then asked and the crowd agreed with her.
Duterte appointed Robredo as co-chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) on October 31. The Vice President accepted her appointment on November 6, much to the surprise of many, especially her allies in the political opposition, who have advised her against taking on the assignment.
Personalities like LP Vice President Erin Tañada, Albay 5th District Rep. Edcel Lagman, and former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV all said that the offer could just be a trap set for her to fail.
“These past two weeks, since I accepted the President’s challenge to lead the government’s efforts against illegal drugs, it has been this strength and determination that I learned as a woman that has allowed me to persevere, in the face of innumerable obstacles and difficulties, to say the least,” she also noted.
Duterte first floated his offer to make Robredo the drug czar of his administration, albeit informal, during one of his speeches where he also initially slammed the Vice President for again criticizing his war on drugs.
Robredo reportedly said Duterte’s drug war was a failure. But she later explained that she merely called for a reassessment of the Duterte administration’s anti-drug campaign since the scheme appears to be “not working”, citing that illegal drugs remain prevalent in the country despite the death of thousands of people.
Robredo said she accepted the appointment because she sees it as an opportunity to save lives.
And since she accepted the post, Robredo has talked with various stakeholders, including ICAD member-agencies, former law enforcers, private organizations, church leaders, community-based rehabilitation centers, and people from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime as well as the United States’ Embassy in the Philippines.
But her moves as an ICAD co-chair seemed to not sit well with Duterte, who said he distrusts her for talking with people who have criticized his drug war and have been “rebuked” by his administration.
Edited by KGA
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