NOVEMBER 19, 2019 – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday night said he will not fire the vice president as anti-drug czar but maintained it is not a Cabinet post.
Duterte made the pronouncement after Vice President Leni Robredo demanded access to classified data such as list of high-value drug targets.
The opposition leader also met with some officials from the United States in a bid to improve the current anti-illegal drugs campaign, which Malacañang said did not sit well with the President.
“I do not have to fire her. She is there. She is working. She can give direction and guidance,” Duterte said.
“I never said I’m firing her. I said I will not appoint her as cabinet member,” he added.
Duterte also said he cannot trust Robredo because he does not know her.
“Hindi ko alam kung sinong kausap niya, sinong politiko, sinong mga tao,” he explained.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo earlier announced that the chief executive has reneged on his decision to appoint Robredo as member of the Cabinet.
“The Vice President talking with–and seeking the advice of–certain foreign institutions and personalities that have prejudged the campaign against illegal drugs as a violation of human rights, as well as a crime against humanity, did not sit well with the President,” Panelo said in a statement.
Robredo, meanwhile, has assured she will not disclose any sensitive information and said the request was in line of her duty as co-chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD).
“Kung wala silang tiwala, bakit nila ako dinesignate? Kasi dinesignate nila ako as co-chair ng ICAD, isa sa mga kailangan kong gawin ay masigurado na iyong nasa listahan ng high value targets ay mahuli,” she told reporters earlier today.
“Kung ipagkakait nila iyong impormasyon, nasa kanila iyon. Basta ako, noong tinanggap ko ito, buong puso, ‘yung lahat ng makakaya ko, ibibigay ko,” she said.
Robredo accepted the post offer raised by Duterte following her criticism of the drug war for being “ineffective.”
She has also floated the idea of replacing the flagship anti-drug policy with a “more effective” campaign that does not involve “senseless” killings, during the first meeting of ICAD on November 8. (Karen Macalalad / TC)