Robredo to continue ICAD duties sans Cabinet rank

Robie de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday said she will just continue doing her job as co-chairperson of the inter-agency committee on anti-illegal drugs (ICAD) even if she is not a member of the Cabinet of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Hindi ko na problema kung di pa sila nagkakasundo sa role ko. Basta sa akin, lahat na pwede kong gawin, gagawin ko,” Robredo told reporters.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo earlier said that the president is no longer considering to appoint Robredo to a Cabinet position following her “missteps” as ICAD co-chair.

Panelo cited Robredo’s meetings with officials from the United States Government and the United Nations on the country’s campaign against illegal drugs.

He said Robredo’s meetings with “certain foreign institutions and personalities that have prejudged the campaign against illegal drugs as a violation of human rights, as well as a crime against humanity did not sit well with the president.”

“These missteps not only derailed PRRD’s [President Rodrigo Roa Duterte] well-meaning intent for the Vice President to be part of the administration, but registered red signs that could not be ignored,” he said.

But the vice president said she doesn’t understand the Duterte administration’s concerns over her discussions with foreign entities when it has been identified that illegal drugs supply in the country was sourced in other countries.

“Hindi ko naiintindihan kung bakit sila nababahala, eh iyong problema sa droga, transnational. Karamihan sa mga iligal na droga, nanggagaling sa ibang bansa. Hindi natin kayang i-constrict iyong supply kung wala tayong pakikipag-tulungan sa ibang bansa,” she said.

She also defended her request to gain access to classified information on the government’s war on drugs, including the list of high-value targets.

“Kung wala silang tiwala, bakit nila ako dinesignate? Nung dinesignate nila ako, isa sa mga kailangan kong gawin ay masigurado na iyong nasa listahan ng high value targets at mahuli,” she said. “Kung ipagkakait nila iyong impormasyon, nasa kanila iyon. Basta ako tinanggap ko ito, buong puso. Gagawin ko lahat ng makakaya ko.”

Early this month, Robredo accepted Duterte’s appointment to co-lead the government’s campaign against drugs.

She said her primary consideration in accepting the task was to promote bloodless campaign against illegal drugs, as well as other proposals to improve the government’s war on drugs.

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