Aquino: I did not ask Robredo to stay as drug czar
MANILA, Philippines — Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief Aaron Aquino on Monday denied urging Vice President Leni Robredo to stay as his co-chair at the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD).
“Hindi ko po sinabi na huwag niya kaming iwan (I did not tell her to not leave us). It was the Vice President who said that she will stay as long as the President wants her to retain her post as ICAD co-chair. Maybe the Vice President only got mixed up by the turn of events,” Aquino said in a statement.
Aquino was reacting to Robredo’s claim in her weekly radio show where she quoted him as saying: “Ma’am, huwag mo kaming iiwan. Huwag mo kaming iiwan kasi maraming nangyayari noong nandiyan ka na. Kasi ako, iyong sa akin, mahirap pasundin iyong mga ahensya kasi Usec lang ako.’”
(He said, “Ma’am, don’t leave us. Don’t leave us because so many things have happened when you came. It was hard to make the agencies follow my orders because I am only an undersecretary.”)
Aquino also maintained that Robredo did not heed his advice to meet all four clusters of ICAD, namely the enforcement, justice, advocacy, and rehabilitation and reintegration clusters.
“Well, she met ICAD last November 8 for what she described as a ‘listening exercise.’ Last November 12, she met the law enforcement cluster. Then she met with DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government), PDEA and Dangerous Drugs Board, which are just members of different clusters. Hindi talaga niya nameet ang ibang clusters. ‘Yun ang sinasabi kong kakulangan (She did not really meet with other clusters. That’s what I was referring as her shortcoming),” said Aquino.
The PDEA chief likewise took issue with Robredo when she said in the same radio program that she was disappointed with him for a supposedly less than gentlemanly act, considering that he was a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy.
“Medyo natatawa ako na disappointed. Disappointed ako kasi PMA-er, Ka Ely, itong si Director General Aquino. Inaasahan mo kapag PMA-er, officer and gentleman. Pero ilang beses nang ang sinasabi sa harap ko, iba ang sinasabi sa media,” Robredo had said.
“She is entitled to her own opinion. Pero siya pa lang ang nagsabi nun sa buong buhay ko (But she is the only one who said that,” Aquino retorted, pointing out that he gave all the respect and courtesy due to Robredo during her short stint as ICAD co-chair, and even asked members of the committee to act on her recommendations in her letter to President Rodrigo Duterte on November 11.
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