Robredo officially named as drug czar

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has signed the document designating Vice President Maria Leonor "Leni" Robredo as co-chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs until June 30, 2022.

The President signed Robredo’s appointment paper in October, based on the document released by the Palace to the media.

In a statement issued Tuesday, November 5, 2019, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said this shows the President's sincerity in offering the post to Robredo despite allegations by the political opposition that this is a ruse to discredit the Vice President.

Panelo said the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Philippine National Police (PNP) and Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) have been directed to render full assistance and cooperation to Robredo. The director-general of PDEA sits as chairperson of the anti-drugs committee.

With the designation of Robredo as drug czar, Malacañang hoped that critics of the administration will "understand that the Chief Executive's ultimate motivation..is the welfare of the Filipino people."

Panelo added that the President made the offer to Robredo "with the hope that the government be successful in combatting the atrocity caused by the use and trade of illegal narcotics, regardless of who greatly contributed to such success."

Duterte first offered the post of drug czar to Robredo on October 28, 2019, in reaction to a report quoting the Vice President as saying that the administration's war on drugs has been ineffective in putting a stop to the rampant narcotics trade in the country.

Duterte's initial offer, however, was for Robredo to spearhead the anti-illegal drugs campaign for six months.

“Siya ang magdala. Tingnan natin kung ano ang mangyari. Hindi ako makialam. Sige gusto mo? Mas bright ka? Sige, ikaw. Subukan mo (Let her handle the situation. Let’s see what will happen. You want? You’re brighter than me? Then try it),” the President had said in his October 28 speech. (MVI/NASE/SunStar Philippines)