ICAD’s Aquino expresses support for Co-Chair Robredo, admits feeling ‘awkward’

Marje Pelayo
PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino (R) and Vice President Leni Robredo (L)

MANILA, Philippines – Members of the Inter-Agency Council on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) have signified their support for the agency’s co-chairperson Vice President Leni Robredo.

Dangerous Drugs Board Chair Catalino Cuy said they expect that Robredo will contribute improvements to the administration’s campaign against illegal drugs and is confident that the system will be free of any political motives.

“(Our) war on drugs is black and white. (No) political color. The success of anyone is our success,” Cuy said.

“Iyan ang target natin kaya nga ‘whole of nation’ approach dito. We welcome lahat ng sector, how much more the VP? The more na kailangan din natin ng kanyang view,” he added.

(TRANSLATION: That is our target, that’s why it is a “whole of nation” approach. We welcome all sectors, how much more the VP? All the more that we need her views.)

Aside from DDB, other agencies who expressed support for Robredo were the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

“Ang partisipasyon ng Vice President ay napakalaking bagay. Dala niya ang kanyang opisina (The Vice President’s participation is a big contribution. She bears with her the) office of the vice president,” said PNP Spokesman PBGen. Bernard Banac.

“Siya mismo ay magiging isa sa mga inspirasyon natin at ang ating kampanya laban sa ilegal na droga ay magiging matagumpay (She herself will be our inspiration and our campaign against illegal drugs will be a success),” he added.

ICAD is comprised of four clusters – the enforcement cluster, the justice cluster, advocacy cluster, and the rehabilitation and reintegration cluster.

Cuy said they cannot identify exactly what the role of the Vice President will be as the drug czar since they are still waiting for a schedule to meet with her.

But the official said, whichever of the four clusters Robredo wishes to focus on, she definitely has their support.

“The DDB will be willing to give the full assistance and support to the Vice President,” Cuy said.

“We are willing to give briefing for her of the anti-drug strategy being implemented (in relation to the anti-drug campaign),” he added.

Meanwhile, PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino expressed his full support to Robredo though he admits feeling different working with the Vice President.

 “The help of Vice President Robredo is very much appreciated especially in terms of harm and demand reduction efforts. We are ready to assist the Vice President in her new task. After all, the objective is the same — to eliminate the drug problem in our country.” he said.

“While this is a welcome development for the illegal drug campaign, personally I cannot help but feel somehow awkward to have the second-highest elected official of the country as my co-chairman in,” he added.

For now, the DDB and PDEA are waiting for a call from Robredo to be able to start the discussion on her roles inside the agency. MNP (with details from Lea Ylagan)

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