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PDEA’s Aquino admits he felt ‘uncomfortable’ with Robredo as ICAD co-chair

/ 12:32 PM December 12, 2019

MANILA, Philippines—Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director-General Aaron Aquino admitted Thursday that he had a hard time dealing with Vice President Leni Robredo when the latter was still his co-chair of the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD).

Aquino explained that he finds it hard to “dictate” on Robredo as to what to do since she holds the second-highest government position in the Philippines.

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“Nahirapan kasi ako e to be honest with you, as the co-chair. Number one, it’s hard for me to dictate dahil Vice President siya e, Usec (Undersecretary) lang naman ako,” Aquino told reporters in Malacañang.

(To be honest with you it was really tough for me. Because number one she’s the Vice President and I’m just an Undersecretary by rank.)

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“Pangalawa, hindi ko din ma-dictate (sa kanya) kung anong dapat niyang gawin, … So when she started meeting with other foreign groups hindi ko rin siya mapigilan so nahihirapan ako,” he added.

(Second, I cannot dictate on her as to what she must do… so when she started meeting with other foreign groups, I cannot really stop her.)

President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Robredo as ICAD co-chair early last month after the opposition stalwart criticized his brutal war on drugs. But the President fired her 19 days later.

ICAD to comply with Robredo recommendations

Despite her removal, Aquino commended Robredo’s inputs to the anti-drug body.

“I feel really uncomfortable kasi nga Vice President siya e pero sa tingin ko naman maganda naman ‘yung mga recommendations niya eh,” he said.

(I feel really uncomfortable because she’s the Vice President but I think her recommendations are good.)

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During her short-lived ICAD stint, Robredo was able to submit to Duterte two recommendation reports. Aquino said he compiled the reports and gave ICAD members a copy.

“I told them we can follow it if it’s beneficial. I asked them to comply,” he said.

He noted that he had asked ICAD member-agencies to report by January next year their compliance on the Vice President’s recommendations.

‘No need for ICAD co-chair’

For now, the PDEA chief said there’s no need for another ICAD head.  But if Duterte would appoint another, Aquino said he or she should be of the same government position as his.

“Kasi by law naman talaga iisa lang ang chairman ng ICAD. I would be more comfortable if I’m the only chairman pero kung meron man sana yung kalaevel ko nalang,” he said.

(By law, there’s only one ICAD chair. I would be more comfortable if I’m the only chairman but if there’s another I hope we’re of the same government rank.)

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TAGS: Aaron Aquino, Drug war, ICAD, Leni Robredo, PDEA
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