The good

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    VICE President Leni Robredo has dived head first into her work as co-chair of the Inter Committee Agency on Anti-Illegal Drugs, just days after she called President Rodrigo Duterte’s bluff on “leading” his flagship program on the war against drugs. It is apparent that the administration was not prepared for the Vice President to accept, after using their favorite bullying tactics against her for weeks.

    A few days in and Robredo is already ruffling feathers of strutting (and quite loud) roosters.

    Despite being ridiculed publicly by President Duterte’s rah-rah boys, she continues to immerse herself in the work she’s taken on, talking to experts to gather all the information and data she needs to be guided in her new task. For starters, she’s begun to engage different sectors affected by the drug war, like Mothers Against Drug Abuse and Community-Based Drug Rehabilitation Agency, as well as law enforcement agencies. It’s a good start, and shows her intention to view the fight against drugs from different lenses—not just the barbaric and bloody approach of nanlaban.

    Her recent pronouncements are also quite indicative of her understanding of the issue at hand: there must be emphasis on addressing the supply side of the problem (how illegal drugs get to our shores, and stopping it) while approaching the demand side in a humane and compassionate way. I hope that she holds up against the landmines and brick bats thrown at her so she can continue to inject some much-needed sanity and compassion into this initiative.

    The bad

    The country is in the final stages of preparations to host the 2019 SEA Games from Nov. 30 to Dec.11, with over 530 events housed in 44 venues across the archipelago. It’s quite exciting, and citizens can watch the events over live stream in different media outlets. I hope our athletes do well, and hope that this brings much-needed attention to the needs of our athletes in terms of government support.

    Unfortunately, like any major undertaking, questions are now being raised about our preparedness for the hosting. Concerns about uncompleted facilities to IT problems that could affect real-time updating of results and medal tallies, if unaddressed, could dampen the shine of a potentially successful hosting. The already unmanageable traffic can turn into a week-long carmageddon once MMDA implements a stop-and-go scheme to allow our guests to shuttle to different venues. I won’t complain about this measure, though. It is part of our responsibility to make sure the athletes reach the venues on time, but I am hoping that the organizers have carefully planned these measures, especially the ones who shouted themselves hoarse about the traffic we experienced back in 2015 for the APEC Economic Leaders Week.

    The ugly

    President Duterte’s men have been falling all over themselves to attack Vice President Robredo left and right after she had called their patron’s bluff on the drug war. It seems they have not recovered from the shock, and have only resorted to doubling down on insulting Robredo. The latter’s meeting with representatives of the US Embassy in her capacity as co-chair of the ICAD seems to have struck a nerve, and is apparent from the frenzy these people have worked themselves into that they are quite worried that Robredo will actually trip them up.

    From statements of “all out support” from when they were egging her on to accept the post, promising “utmost cooperation” for her efforts to mansplaining why she shouldn’t have access to the list of high value targets and state secrets, it’s quite laughable how these men have completely surrendered their dignity to do their principal’s bidding. They’re now scrambling to box her in, suggesting snidely that she confine herself to the rehabilitation cluster of their cherished ICAD. These were the very same men swaggering (reminiscent of Gaston in Beauty and the Beast) last week that Robredo should experience anti-drug operations from the front lines, implying that a woman like Robredo would cower in fear. Toxic masculinity aside, these people continue to make fools of themselves in public day in and day out, only revealing the rot in themselves more and more.