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Senators welcome Duterte's decision to let Robredo co-chair inter-agency body vs. drugs

Senators welcomed Tuesday the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to designate Vice President Leni Robredo as co-chairperson of the inter-agency body created to handle the government’s war on drugs.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III said the post will allow Robredo to see for herself why the war on drugs cannot be stopped.

He said the opposition has been repeatedly saying that the war on drugs is a failure and should be stopped.

“Kahit ubusin mo lahat ng pusher ngayon, bukas merong bagong pusher. Kahit patayin ang lahat ng adik ngayon, bukas may bagong adik kasi itong mga pusher hahanap ng pagbebentahan. Walang katapusan ‘yan. This is the only complex crime in the world kaya hindi ganu'n kadali ito. Ito lang ang krimen na the victim is the criminal and the criminal is the victim,” he said.

“Walang ibang krimen na ganu'n kaya pag-aralan nilang mabuti at nang malaman nila na ang ang pagsugpo diyan ay hindi puwedeng puro illegal drugs ang target mo. Kailangan din targetin mo 'yung drug abuse,” he added.

It was Duterte, not Robredo, who said he would be able to rid the country of corruption and crime, including illegal drug use, within the first three to six months of his presidency.

Senator Francis Tolentino said the designation of Robredo “just shows the sincerity of the President in exemplifying inclusive governance and the need for cooperation in fighting the drug menace.”

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go urged Robredo to accept the designation so she can try her hand in solving the drug problem.

“I challenge na tanggapin niyo ang hamon ng mamamayan. Subukan mo po. At least malalaman mo ang trabaho ng Pangulo at kung gaano kalaki ang problema sa ilegal na droga,” he said.

“Subukan mo up to the last day of your term and term din ni Presidente to June 30, 2022. Tignan natin kung makakatulog ka pa, makikita mo kung gaano kahirap,” he added.

He said when Robredo’s term ends, it would be his turn to ask her about her campaign against illegal drugs.

“May kanya-kanya tayong style, baka may panibago ka namang style sa pagsugpo ng ilegal na droga. Pagdating ng July 1, hindi ka nag-succeed  at di mo napatay ang drug lords, ako naman ang magtatanong sa’yo, ‘Mam ba’t di mo pinatay ang mga drug lord’,” he told reporters.

Go, however, said they want Robredo to succeed.

“We want her to succeed. Basta unahin n’yo lang po ang interes ng Filipino, interes ng karamihan para masugpo ang ilegal na droga…susuportahan namin siya,” he said.

Senator Ronald Dela Rosa, who used to be the main implementer of the war on drugs, expressed optimism that with Robredo on board, “our war on drugs will become more successful.”

“I hope that we can win this war as one nation undivided by political colors,” the former Philippine National Police chief said in a text message to GMA News Online.

Senator Imee Marcos also urged Robredo to accept the post.

“Tanggapin niya. The President needs all the help he can get versus drug lords,” she said in a separate text message.

On the other hand, Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said he will wait for Robredo's response first before he gives his comment.

In a memorandum dated October 31, Duterte said Robredo would serve as Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) co-chairperson, which holds a Cabinet rank.

The appointment is until the end of the administration's term on June 30, 2022, unless sooner revoked. —KG/BM, GMA News