Pangilinan questions motive behind Duterte’s offer to Robredo

Robie de Guzman
Senator Francis Pangilinan

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Francis Pangilinan is questioning the motive behind the move of President Rodrigo Duterte to designate Vice President Leni Robredo as co-chairperson of the inter-agency committee on anti-illegal drugs (ICAD).

Pangilinan said the offer, which was based on Executive Order 15 establishing ICAD, seemed like a ploy to silence Robredo from criticizing the government’s campaign against illegal drugs.

“Kataka-taka lang ang motibo ng Malacañang sa EO na ito. Malayo sa naunang pronouncement na itatalaga si VP bilang drug czar. Bakit biglang co-chair na lang? Takot ba sila na bigyan ng tunay na kapangyarihan si VP at baka masapawan sila o may tamaan?” he said in a statement.

“Epektibong stratehiya laban sa naglipanang illegal drugs ba ang tunay na layunin nitong EO o epektibong stratehiya para ipitin at patahimikin ang Bise Presidente na tumututol sa araw-araw na patayan ng mahihirap habang pinapalusot ang mga ninja cops, ninja sa Customs, at mga sindikato ng droga?” he added.

According to Pangilinan, the appointment may be accepted by Robredo if the current framework of the drug war is “publicly discarded for being based on false assumptions” such as the treatment of drug addiction as a criminal issue and that drug users must be killed daily.

“Drug addiction is a health problem. It is largely rooted in poverty and inequality,” he said.

“Hindi masosolusyunan ng pagtutok sa maliliit na drug user at pusher ang problema ng droga. At hindi masosolusyunan ng pagpatay ang problema ng gutom at kahirapan,” he added.

The senator, president of Liberal Party, said there are other issues that the government must focus on such as the spread of African Swine Fever in the country, victims of recent Mindanao quakes and other woes faced by local rice farmers.

On Tuesday, Malacañang released a document dated Oct. 31 stating Duterte’s formal designation of Robredo as co-chairperson in the committee on anti-illegal drugs until June 30, 2022.

The president’s move came after the vice president called on the former to allow the United Nations to investigate his war on drugs, which she said was “not working.” She later clarified that she meant to urge the administration to assess its campaign.

Robredo herself has yet to comment on the proposal on Wednesday but her spokesperson earlier called on the offer as “meaningless,” and that Malacañang is not serious regarding the issue.

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