PRESIDENT Duterte yesterday offered to make Vice PresidentLeni Robredo his government’s “drug czar” as he lashed at her for her comments on the administration’s bloody war against illegal drugs.
“I will surrender my powers to enforce the law,” Duterte said in remarks to newly-appointed government officials. “I will give it to the Vice President for six months. I’ll let her carry it out, let us see what will happen. I will not interfere.”
It was not immediately clear if Duterte’s offer was meant sarcastically, although he said he has sent a letter to Robredo through Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.
Robredo’s office said the Vice President had no statement on the matter yet.
In an interview with news channel ANC on Monday, Robredo stood by her criticism of Duterte’s policies.
“I can’t just sit back and look the other way,” she said. “If I see something wrong, I feel it’s my obligation to verbalize what I see, no matter how few we are.”
Philippine authorities reject activists’ allegations that drug dealers and users are being executed and say the more than 7,000 people killed by police had all resisted arrest.
In a chance interview after the oath-taking of newly appointed government officials, Duterte said that since Robredo has a lot of ideas and a lot to say about the campaign, and appears to be better than him in handling the drug problem, he will “commission her to be the drug czar”.
“Sinabi ko sa kanya, I’m ready to give you, to concede to you powers that would cover all drug, anti-drug activities by the government. Sabihin niya at siya ang padalhin ko. I’ll give her a clean slate para malaman niya kung gaano kadali mag-kontrol ng droga (I am telling her, I’m ready to give you, to concede to you powers that would cover all drug, anti-drug activities, by the government. Just say it and I will send her. I’ll give her a clean slate, so that she would find out how easy it is to control illegal drugs),” he said.
Duterte gave Robredo six months to solve the country’s illegal drugs problems. “I’ll give you six months. Tingnan natin kung kaya mo. (I’ll give you six months. Let’s see what you can do),” he said.
Duterte, when he campaign for the 2016 presidential elections, promised to solve the drug problem within six months after he takes his oath. He has been in power for three years and three months now.
Robredo, in an interview with foreign news service Reuters last week, was quoted as saying that the war on drugs should be abandoned.
She said the campaign “has been a failure and a dent on the country’s international image.”
The Vice President later clarified that she did not call for a stop of the drug war, but only suggested a change in its implementation. – With Reuters