Tell it to SunStar: Robredo’s problem

Jesus Sievert

AFTER Vice President Leni Robredo has been unceremoniously dismissed as co-chair of the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (Icad) by President Rodrigo Duterte, the question now that many are asking is whether or not this is a boon or a bane to her political future.

Being just a heartbeat away from the presidency there is no doubt that she covets the position and there seems to be no other political stalwart in the opposition that can surpass her popularity nor her perceived leadership status as being the forceful person that could likely unseat Duterte.

There could not be a better exemplification of this than the latest saga of her 19-day stint as anti-drug czar when she ended being booted out by the President for not delivering the suitable solution to Duterte’s anti-drug campaign, which Robredo criticized as “obviously not working.”

While Robredo may be right in recognizing that Duterte’s war on drugs should not only be viewed in the context of a criminal offense but also in relation to medical and sociological problem, what made her acceptance of the very sensitive job dubious is the fact that until her last day she did not have anything to offer that could be considered the policy foundation of her own anti-drug campaign.

Because Robredo has been very critical of Duterte’s bloody war on drugs, the people in general, and Duterte in particular, were expecting that as soon as she accepted the Icad position she would hit the ground running with her concrete and decisive steps to make the government’s war against illegal drugs more effective with less destruction of lives, in contrast to Duterte’s style that has been highly denounced as cold-blooded.

Alas, it did not come out as highly expected and it disillusioned everybody, including the President. This even prompted Duterte’s sidekick, Sen. Bong Go, to twit Robredo, saying, “Tokhang” turns to “toklang [talk lang],” in reference to Duterte’s distrust of Robredo when the former noted that the latter had been talking to various groups critical of his war on drugs right after she accepted the position to be the government’s drug czar.

And so, what is making it a dilemma for Robredo now is that right after Duterte dismissed her as Icad co-chair she vowed to continue the fight and announced that she would disclose something she discovered in the course of waging her version of the war on drugs.

Well, it has been over a week now since her firing and still no published revelations of her discovery. What is it really that she wants the Filipino people to know about Duterte’s war on drugs?

Are these unfavorable or unpalatable revelations going to be part of the weapons in Robredo’s political arsenal to be used against Duterte in her quest for the presidency in 2022?

What to reveal is a dilemma hounding Robredo at the moment, but her greatest dilemma of all, however, is in her presidential aspiration where she has to turn around to her favor the high satisfaction rating Duterte is presently getting in his war on drugs and an equally high approval rating that Duterte is enjoying as President.