PRESIDENT Duterte feared Vice President Leni Robredo would cause more harm than help the government’s campaign against illegal drugs so he decided to fire her as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD).
The President made the statement in a taped interview with GMA Netwrok’s “Unang Hirit” TV program that was aired yesterday, Monday.
“Ang kinatatakutan ko, magkalat siya (I feared that she may sow problems),” the President said.
Duterte added: “Kaya ako takot (because) the more that she stays with the ICAD, the more that she would create issues and the more that the people will be in a quandary, ‘Ano bang totoo dito?’ (That’s why I was scared [because] the more that she stays with the ICAD, the more that she would create issues and the more that the people will be in a quandary and ask ‘What is the truth?).”
Duterte said he named Robredo to the ICAD post out of exasperation after she repeatedly criticized the supposed wrongdoings and ineffectiveness of the administration’s anti-illegal drugs drive.
The President appointed Robredo to ICAD in October and she accepted the post in early November. She was fired 19 days later.
Duterte said he had wanted to give Robredo the chance to see for herself how the campaign was being carried out at the same time, find out if she can contribute to improve the campaign.
He said the idea was for the Vice President to provide the guidance and direction in the campaign, like ensuring that the police involved in the anti-drug operations wear body cameras or members of the media join and watch actual drug raids.
The President lamented that Robredo instead went around talking to people and groups that had already prejudged his drug war.
In the end, Duterte said, the Vice President just showed that she knew nothing about handling the illegal drugs campaign.
POST-SEA GAMES REPORT
Robredo on Monday said she deferred the release of her drug report until after the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in deference to all Filipino athletes competing in the competition.
“Pinapatapos ko lang iyong SEA Games. Iyong report, soon. Very soon. Hintayin lang natin matapos (I’m just waiting for the SEA Games to conclude. The report will be released very soon. Let’s just wait for it to finish),” she told reporters after attending an event in Quezon City.
Robredo’s office was prepared to make the report late last week after being challenged by the administration to present it but decided against it to avoid taking the limelight away from the 2019 SEA Games.
“Let’s finish the SEA Games first, at least the opening, in deference to our athletes,” said the Vice President.
Robredo last Saturday expressed her support for Filipino athletes during the opening ceremony of the SEA Games at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan.
“Nakaka-proud maging Pinoy! Maraming salamat sa ating mga atleta, world champions, mga tagapagtanghal, and to everyone behind the #SEAGames2019 opening ceremony,” she tweeted.
“Ang dami nating maipagmamalaki bilang isang bansa, at pinakamalakas tayo kapag ang alab ng puso ay iisa #WeWinAsOne,” she added.
Robredo has been baffled why Malacañang seemed rattled after she announced that she will make public what she has discovered about the drug war during her brief ICAD stint.
The Vice President said she is not reporting her findings to threaten anyone but to help the government improve its campaign against prohibited drugs.
After she was fired, Robredo warned the administration that she was not one to back down from a good fight, saying “I am just getting started.”
She then promised to make a report to the public on her discoveries about the government’s war against illegal drugs and give her recommendations on how to make the campaign become better, especially on the aspect of handling drug suspects and users.
Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo has said Robredo was fired due to “missteps” she allegedly committed while she was the drug czar. – With Raymond Africa