(NOVEMBER 11, 2019) – A top ally of President Rodrigo Duterte came under fire on Monday after he criticized the vice president‘s “all talk” performance as an anti-illegal drug czar.
Barry Gutierrez defended Vice President Leni Robredo against criticism after almost one week in her job as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Illegal Drugs (ICAD).
He said the comments of House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano would benefit drug lords because it could show the government is divided on the illegal drug campaign.
“Wala pa siyang kahit isang linggo. Kung hindi magawang tumulong ni Speaker Cayetano sa ginagawang trabaho ni VP, kahit man lang umiwas muna siya sa paninira,” Gutierrez said in a statement.
Cayetano has appealed to Robredo in an interview to stop the “Oplan Talk-hang” and buckle down to work.
Gutierrez said the drug lords will be happy to see the government officials trade barbs with each other.
Robredo and co-chair Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief Aaron Aquino, along with heads of the attached agencies in the ICAD, held a meeting last Friday to update Robredo of the whats and wheres of the drug war.
ICAD was created in 2017 through Executive Order No. 15, with the PDEA, Philippine National Police, Dangerous Drugs Board, and the Interior Department at the forefront of the drug war.
“Kailangan ng buong gobyernong magtulungan sa kampanya laban sa iligal na droga. Kung ganito pa lang kaaga mag-aaway-away na tayo, ang mga drug lords lang ang matutuwa,” Gutierrez said.
Cayetano, however, said he wants Robredo to succeed but she has to get something done besides talking to the press.
“Normal naman ‘yung in-offer sa kanya na mag-press conference para pag-usapan ito; right ng tao na malaman ‘yan,” Cayetano said. “But noong tinanggap niya, parang mas marami pa ang oras sa harap ng camera at mas marami pang statement kaysa trabaho.”
Among the ideas floated by Robredo in the ICAD’s meeting last week was the replacement of “Oplan Tokhang” with a “more effective” campaign where “senseless killings” of the innocent are not embedded. She also said she is willing to talk to the United Nations about the matter. (Randell Ritumalta/MM)