MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo has accepted the challenge set by President Rodrigo Duterte for her to lead the country’s infamous war on drugs by acting as co-chairman of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Drugs (ICAD).
In a news conference on Wednesday (November 6), Robredo stressed that she is accepting the position in hopes of stopping the killing of innocent lives for which the administration’s anti-drug war is infamous.
“Ang pinakamahalagang konsiderasyon para sa akin ay simple lang: Kung ito ang pagkakataon para matigil ang patayan ng mga inosente at mapanagot ang kailangan managot, papasanin ko ito,” Robredo said.
(My main consideration is simple: If this is the chance to stop the killings of innocent people and bring to justice those who are responsible, I will bear it.)
“Kaya, tinatanggap ko ang trabahong ibinibigay sa akin ng Pangulo,” she added.
(I am accepting the job the President is offering me.)
Duterte brought up the challenge following Robredo’s series of rants against the government’s anti-illegal drugs campaign.
The day before her announcement, Robredo’s spokesperson scored against the administration for disparaging the Vice President’s capability by offering a ‘meaningless’ and a ‘non-existent’ position that has no power at all.
But despite the advice of her allies that the offer could be a ‘trap’ for her to fail, Robredo surprised the public by finally giving in.
She emphasized, however, that she did not ask for it but it was the President who started the issue.
“Kahit sabihin na nating ang alok na ito ay pamumulitika lang, at hindi naman talaga ako susundin ng mga ahensya, at gagawin nila ang lahat para hindi ako magtagumpay. handa akong tiisin ang lahat ng ito,” Robredo said.
(Even if this offer is nothing but mere politics, and that in reality these agencies will not obey me but will do everything to block my success, I am ready to endure all of this.)
“Dahil meron akong maililigtas na kahit isang inosenteng buhay, ang sinasabi ng prinsipyo at puso ko ay kailangan kong subukan,” she continued.
(In order to save one innocent life, my principle and my heart dictate that I should give it a try.)
Before she ended her speech, Robredo stressed that from the start it has been her intention to help and serve the best interest of the Filipino people despite not being in good terms with the President.
“Mr. President, hindi pa huli ang lahat (It’s not yet too late),” she said referring to Duterte.
“Puwede pa nating pagtulungan ito (We can still work on this together),” she concluded.
As ICAD Co-Chairperson
In accordance with Executive Order No. 15 on the creation of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Drugs (ICAD), Robredo will be working with Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Police Director General Aaron Aquino as co-chairperson.
The task is to ensure a synchronized effort of concerned government agencies in curbing the proliferation of illegal drugs in the country through continuous conduct of anti-illegal drug operations and advocacy campaigns, implementation of the government’s anti-illegal drugs policies, rehabilitation and reintegration programs.
Specifically, agencies under the ICAD include:
• Armed Forces of the Philippines
• Philippine National Police
• Department of National Defense
• Department of Justice
• Department of the Interior and Local Government
• Department of Social Welfare and Development
• Department of Trade and Industry
• Department of Agriculture
• Department of Health
• Department of Education
• National Bureau of Investigation
• Dangerous Drugs Board
• Philippine Information Agency
• Anti-Money Laundering Council
• Office of the Solicitor General
• Public Attorney’s Office
• Philippine Coast Guard
• Bureau of Customs
• Bureau of Immigration
• Technical Education and Skills Development Authority
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