Vice President Leni Robredo clapped back at critics who are doubtful of her solving the country's drug problem if she becomes the country's next President.
In a radio interview on Saturday, Robredo was asked to react to critics claiming that drug lords will not be intimidated by a woman president.
"Noong lalaki, natakot ba sila, ‘di ba? Iyon naman ang tanong, eh," Robredo responded.
(When we had a male President, were the drug lords scared?)
Robredo said only small-time drug pushers are scared of the Duterte administration's bloody drug war.
"Madali lang sabihin kasi iyong society natin, ang tingin sa babae, mahina. Pero iyon nga iyong tanong ko. Number one priority iyong drugs nitong administrasyong ito, lalaki iyong nakaupo," said Robredo.
(That [criticism] is easy to say because our society looks at women as weak. But that is my question. The administration's priority is drugs, and the President is a man.)
"Pero natakot ba iyong drug lords sa pagpasok ng—siguro ang natakot iyong mga maliliit na, alam mo iyon, iyong mga maliliit na paunti-unting gumagamit. Natakot kasi sila ang hinahabol," she added.
(But were the drug lords afraid? Maybe those small-time pushers got scared because authorities went after them.)
Further, Robredo cited her experience as former co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) wherein she found that there were many drug-related deaths but the drug war remained as a failure.
"'Di ba iyong promise na three to six months, wala na? Pero nakita natin, last week lang nga, may malaking huli sa Davao. Ang dami nang namatay na tao. Ang gusto kong sabihin, failure. Failure kasi ang dami nang namatay, pero ang dami pa rin na drugs," said Robredo, who served as the country's ICAD co-chair for 19 days. The Davao incident she was referring to was the anti-drug raid during a controversial beach party wherein Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte's aide was arrested.
(Isn't it the promise to remove [drugs] for three to six months was not accomplished? We also found that just last week there was a big drug raid in Davao. Many people died. What I want to say is that it is a failure because there have been many deaths but drug supply is still there.)
It can be recalled Robredo did not want to quit the post in ICAD as there were a lot of things to be done but Duterte fired her.
If she becomes the next President, Robredo proposed to eradicate corruption in ports to go after big-time drug dealers.
"Halimbawa, iyong corruption sa mga ports, papaano mo hahabulin iyong mga big-time? Sa akin, iyong paghabol ng big-time, number one, corruption. Hindi nahahabol iyong mga big-time kasi binabayaran iyong mga kailangan mag-habol sa kanila," Robredo said.
(For example, for corruption in ports, how will you go after big-time drug dealers? For me, to arrest them is to eradicate corruption. You can't catch these big-time drug suspects because they are paying those who will arrest them.)
Her priorities are also to eliminate narcotics supply and penalize those importing it, Robredo added.
"Iyon iyong – Ako, sa akin talaga, ang priority ko, alisin iyong supply. Talagang siguruhin na hindi nakakapasok dito sa atin. Tapos siguruhin na pag may nakakalusot, iyong penalties, ano talaga, extreme talaga iyong penalties na ibibigay," Robredo said.
Likewise, Robredo underscored that drug addiction is also a health problem, adding that rehabilitation should be in such a way that the drug addict will not return to the rehabilitation center again.
"Pero ito kasi, dapat tinitingnan natin iyong addiction bilang health problem. Kasi kailangan mong i-rehabilitate iyong tao na hindi na siya pabalik-balik," said Robredo.
(We need to see drug addiction as a health problem. We need to rehabilitate a person that they will not return again.)
"Kasi nakikita natin, halimbawa sasabihin natin, 'Mabuti naman iyong mga adik sa barangay namin, naubos na.' Pero maaalis iyan, for some time, babalik din, ibang tao na. Kasi iyong supply, nandiyan. So hanggang hindi natin inasikaso, hindi maaalis iyong problema natin sa drugs," she added.
(Because from what we see, for example we say that addicts were already gone in our village. But after some time, other addicts will surface. Because the supply is there. So unless we fix this, we can't erase the drug problem.)
Malacañang had admitted that Duterte's promise to eliminate drugs from three to six months is not enough but noted that there are proper measurements to say that the administration's drug war is successful.
Duterte is also facing a probe before the International Criminal Court, which granted a former prosecutor's request to look into the crimes against humanity in the Philippines.
Followers chose pink
Robredo said they originally chose blue as her campaign color. But upon her announcement, more supporters wore pink and she eventually followed suit.
"Actually, ang feng shui ko, blue. Pero iyong araw na mag-a-announce ako, naka-blue ako. Pati mga anak ko, naka-blue. Ang daming mga supporters na pumunta sa office, naka-pink. So kami iyong sumunod. Kami iyong nag-adjust. Parang iyong pink, naging symbol siya ng volunteers," said Robredo.
(My feng shui showed blue. On the day I announced, I was wearing blue. My children were also wearing blue. But a lot of supporters who went to the office and they wore pink. So we followed them. We adjusted. Pink is the symbol of my volunteers.)
Don't vote vs. fake news peddlers
Robredo also urged her supporters to help correct fake news against her.
"So everywhere I go, iyon iyong pakiusap ko sa supporters, na sana tumulong kayo na i-correct kung ano iyong mga fake news, [that is what I ask supporters, to help correct fake news against me]," said Robredo.
She also warned voters that politicians who lie or disseminate fake news will adversely affect the country.
"Kasi kung ang eleksyon na ito ang kandidato mananalo based sa kasinungalingan, kawawa iyong Pilipinas," she said.
(If a candidate wins based on lies, the Philippines will suffer.) —KG/BM, GMA News