Duterte fires Robredo as anti-illegal drugs czar

Maris Federez

MANILA, Philippines – One day after apologizing to Vice President Leni Robredo for assuming that she invited United Nations investigators to look into his campaign against illegal drugs as co-chair of the administration’s anti-narcotics body, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has fired the vice president as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD).

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea initially made the confirmation to the Malacanang Press Corps on Sunday, November 24.

This was followed by a statement from the Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo announcing the termination of the services of the vice president as ICAD co-chairperson.

The president’s move, the statement said, is in response to the suggestion of Liberal Party President, Senator Francis Pangilinan, to just fire the Vice President from her post.

“This is also in response to the taunt and dare of VP Robredo for the President to just tell her that he wants her out,” Panelo said.

The statement further reads that the designation of VP Robredo was not like any offer to perform a certain task, indicating that “it was an offer to make the campaign against illegal drugs better – a chance where both this Administration and the political opposition could have unified in fighting the social ill that has destroyed the lives of many and imperilled thousands others, in addition to creating a multitude of dysfunctional families and threatening the present and the next generation to useless existence.”

“Unfortunately, she wasted such opportunity and used the same as a platform to attack the methods undertaken by this Administration. Such tack was even motivated by hubris to prove their past arguments against the anti-illegal drug operations were correct. It at once crumbled as her request for police data validated the falsity of their arguments that the extra-judicial killings are state-sponsored,” Panelo added.

Sec. Panelo further said that the president has given the vice president “ample authority and powers to direct all responsible government instrumentalities to act in accordance with the strategic objectives that she might have had in mind, in line with putting an end to the drug menace in our country. However, the Vice President resorted to unduly baiting international attention on the matter, particularly from persons or entities that know little or none at all about our situation, other than their own bias or unsubstantiated prejudgment.”

The presidential spokesperson added that what the vice president has done “is to embarrass our country, apart from detrimentally undermining the government’s efforts to preserve the general welfare.”

This, Panelo said, even after the President has been more than patient enough, giving the Vice President adequate opportunity to discuss possible courses of action with him.

On Saturday, in an interview before his departure for South Korea for a summit, President Duterte admitted that he made a mistake in accusing Robredo of asking the UN to investigate the ‘drug war.’ (with details from Rosalie Coz) /mbmf

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