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Carpio says Duterte’s drug czar offer to Robredo must be in writing

The chief executive can delegate certain powers to subordinates, but President Rodrigo Duterte’s supposed offer to make Vice President Leni Robredo the drug czar needs to be in writing to define the specifics, retired Supreme Court justice Antonio Carpio said.

Duterte has said he would cede his law enforcement powers to Robredo for six months, but later said he would like to “commission” the Vice President as his drug czar. He made the statement after she criticized anew his anti-drug campaign.

Robredo said the matter is “speculative” until she gets a formal offer, denying that Duterte’s spokesman, Salvador Panelo, had texted her to convey the invitation.

At a testimonial dinner held for him in Taguig City Tuesday night, Carpio was asked to weigh in on the matter.

“The President can of course delegate certain powers, but I don’t know how that will be taken by the Vice President,” the former magistrate told reporters.

Asked if it has to be done in writing, he said: “Yes, of course.” He explained that that certain powers entail responsibilities.

“What I'm saying is that it's all speculation because ... we don’t know whether she will accept or not and we don’t know the extent of the delegation of authority,” Carpio said.

It is also not known “who the people will be under the Vice President” and “what agencies will be under,” he said. “So it’s a very broad proposal and it’s very difficult to define what kind of work the person to whom it is delegated will do.”

The 1987 Constitution tasks the Vice President to serve the President’s unexpired term in case of death, permanent disability, and removal from office, or resignation.

The Constitution also says that the Vice President shall discharge the President’s powers and duties when the President transmits to Congress a “written declaration” that he is unable to do so, and until he transmits a “written declaration” to the contrary.

Carpio had been in charge of the drug war cases at the High Court until he retired on Saturday, October 26. Two groups are asking the tribunal to declare the circulars operationalizing the campaign unconstitutional.

The cases will be assigned to the justice who will “inherit” his docket, he said.

Asked if he believed there were extralegal killings in the conduct of the drug war, he said he was unable to “thoroughly” go over the “voluminous” documents submitted by the police.

A group of petitioners challenging the drug war has called the documents “rubbish.” The other claimed the accounts of deadly police operations in official reports supported their arguments against the controversial campaign. —VDS, GMA News