BY WENDELL VIGILIA
VICE President Leni Robredo yesterday slammed Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief Aaron Aquino for being insincere, saying that while he had been nice to her while they were working together as co-chairmen of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), Aquino has been putting her down before media.
“Medyo natatawa ako na disappointed. Disappointed ako kasi PMA-er itong si Dir. Gen. Aquino. Inaasahan mo kapag PMA-er, officer and a gentleman. Pero ilang beses nang ang sinasabi sa harap ko, iba ang sinasabi sa media (I’m just a bit amused and disappointed.
Disappointed because Dir. Gen. Aquino is a product of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) and so, you expect him to be an officer and a gentleman. But many times, he would say one thing to me, then say another to the media),” Robredo said in weekly radio program Biserbisyong Leni aired over RMN-DZXL.
Malaya tried to get Aquino’s reaction to the Vice President’s statement. Until posting time, the PDEA chief has yet to answer calls or text messages sent to him.
Robredo’s statement was in reaction to Aquino who said last week that the Vice President had failed to make any significant contributions in the campaign in her 18 days in office.
Aquino also criticized the Vice President for failing to meet with all four clusters of the ICAD, calling it one of her “missteps.”
Robredo belied this as untrue, saying that Aquino was there when the four clusters met with her.
“Noong nag-report sa akin iyong four clusters, nandoon siya. Kaya hindi totoo na hindi ko na-meet iyong lahat na clusters (When the four clusters reported to me, he was there so it’s not true that I did not meet with all the clusters),” she said.
Robredo had to work with Aquino for almost three weeks after President Duterte appointed her as co-chair of the ICAD which spearheads the government’s war on illegal drugs.
The Vice President said that two days before the President fired her as ICAD co-chair, Aquino, in front of her chief-of-staff Undersecretary Boyet Dy and the PDEA staff, told her that he does not want her to leave the ICAD.
“Sinabi niya… ‘Ma’am, huwag mo kaming iiwan. Huwag mo kaming iiwan kasi maraming nangyayari noong nandiyan ka na.’ Sabi niya… ‘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 a lot of things have happened when you came.’ He said… ‘Because it would be difficult for me to order the agencies because I’m just an Undersecretary),” Robredo said.
The Vice President said she then assured Aquino that she had no plans to leave “unless the President removes me.”
“Hindi ako magre-resign, iyon iyong ma-a-assure ko sa iyo, puwera na lang kung tanggalin ako. Iyon nga, two days after, tinanggal ako (I won’t resign, that I can assure you unless the President fires me. That said, I was fired after two days),” she said.
Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo had said President had lost trust in Robredo due to various “missteps,” such as her alleged her failure to present her drug plan to him and her meeting with United Nations officials.
Robredo is expected to make public her report and recommendations on the drug war today, a few days after the conduct of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games which the country hosted.
The Vice President earlier said the report will cover all her 18 days as co-chair of the ICAD.
Robredo said the report will be more “recommendatory,” discussing her programs which she wanted to undertake before she was fired by President Duterte.