MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo on Wednesday said she will not step down as co-chairperson of the inter-agency committee on anti-illegal drugs (ICAD)despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s lack of trust.
Robredo said she will continue performing her task if Duterte will not order for her dismissal from the government’s anti-drug body.
“Dapat diretsuhin na lang ako. Diretso naman akong kausap. Kung ayaw niya na, nagkamali siya sa pag-appoint sa akin at gusto na niyang bawiin, sabihin na lang. Pero habang mayroong ini-expect sa akin na trabaho, gagawin ko,” the vice president told reporters in an interview after her meeting with the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB).
“Hindi ko kontrolado yung iba. Pero yung experience ko kasi sa ICAD, majority naman nung agencies very cooperative,” she added.
Duterte on Tuesday night admitted he doesn’t trust Robredo, and that he couldn’t appoint her to his Cabinet as she is a member of the opposition and does not know her personally.
“I cannot trust her not only because she is with the opposition. I do not trust her because I do not know her,” the President said.
He also said he is not taking back Robredo’s position, but stressed the limits of her mandate as drug czar, which include giving orders to ICAD.
The chief executive also emphasized that Robredo may only access classified information on anti-drug campaign on a “need to know” basis.
Robredo earlier requested to gain access to drug war information, arguing that it is part of her mandate as ICAD co-chair to ensure the arrest of high-value targets.
She also gave an assurance not to disclose sensitive information to foreign entities critical of the administration.
The vice president, meanwhile, revealed she has refused a briefing from her ICAD co-chair on such data.
She said she met with Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency director general Aaron Aquino on Wednesday who offered to discuss with her classified drug information.
However, she refused pending a clear breakdown of her mandate from the president.
Robredo said she already sent a letter to the president seeking clarifications on the scope and limitations of the job he had given her. “He was offering to brief me on some classified matter pero I refused kasi sabi ko hihintayin ko muna yung sagot ni presidente dun sa aking clarification kung ano ba talaga yung limits ng aking mandato,” she said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Vincent Arboleda)
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