President Rodrigo Duterte has designated Vice President Leni Robredo as co-chairperson of the inter-agency body he created in 2017 to handle the government’s war on drugs.
Robredo’s designation as co-chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) was announced by Malacañang on Tuesday.
In a memorandum dated October 31, Duterte said Robredo would serve as ICAD co-chair, which holds a Cabinet rank, until the end of the administration’s term on June 30, 2022, unless sooner revoked.
President Rodrigo Duterte has designated Vice President Leni Robredo as co-chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs, according to a document released by Malacañang on Tuesday. @gmanews pic.twitter.com/mdF62TiRUm— Virgil Lopez (@virgillopez) November 5, 2019
Duterte instructed the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Philippine National Police, Dangerous Drugs Board and all other law enforcement agencies to extend their “full assistance and cooperation” to Robredo to “ensure the success of the government’s efforts in the war against illegal drugs.”
“As ICAD co-chair, the VP will have a proactive role in the government’s war against illegal drugs,” Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said.
“She will have a hand in crafting the policies and programs of the government and at the same time ensure the proper implementation of anti-illegal drug operations and advocacy initiatives," he added.
Up until Robredo’s appointment, the ICAD is headed solely by the PDEA, whose chief Aaron Aquino on Monday expressed doubts on Robredo’s capability to lead the campaign against illegal drugs.
Created through Executive Order 15 issued in March 2017, the ICAD was mandated to ensure the effective conduct of anti-illegal drug operations and arrest of high-value drug personalities down to the street-level peddles and users and cleanse the bureaucracy of unscrupulous personnel involved in illegal drug activities, among other functions.
“Members of the political opposition have been issuing demands relative to the President's offer to the Vice President to head the government's campaign against illegal drugs, alleging that the same is a ruse manufactured by this administration to discredit the latter,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.
“With this development, the Palace supposes that detractors and critics will finally see the sincerity of the President in making such offer to the Vice President and understand that the Chief Executive's ultimate motivation in making the same is the welfare of the Filipino people, 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.”
GMA News Online has contacted Robredo's office on Tuesday but has yet to receive a reply as of posting time.
However, Robredo seemed not keen on taking on the job of drug czar, telling reporters last week that Duterte won’t have to delegate the job if the anti-narcotics campaign was successful.
Duterte first made the offer on October 28 in response to Robredo’s statement that the anti-narcotics campaign was not working because it allegedly failed to curb drug use.
While he was running for president in 2016, Duterte promised to solve the country's problems with crime and illegal drugs in six months.
He later said that he underestimated the extent of the drug menace, adding that he needed more time to deliver his promise. —KG, GMA News