PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has appointed Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo as co-chairman of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), Malacañang said on Tuesday.
Duterte signed Robredo’s appointment paper on October 31, la copy of which was released only on Tuesday.
“The Palace wishes to announce that the President has officially signed the paper which designates Vice President Leni Robredo as the Co-Chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD),” Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
“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,” he added.
With this development, Panelo said the the Palace supposed “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.”
“First, these people have demanded that VP Leni be given the post with drug enforcement agencies and offices, such as the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, the Philippine National Police and the Dangerous Drugs Board, under her authority, and the President has directed these instrumentalities to render full assistance and cooperation to her through this official document,” Panelo said.
“Second, they have demanded that she be authorized to become the drug czar until the end of PRRD’s term, and the same paper designates her with the highest position possible to battle the proliferation of dangerous drugs until June 30, 2022. Finally, they have demanded that the power be granted through an official correspondence, and not just through a verbal or electronic communication, and the President has acceded to such demand,” he added.
Last week, Duterte said he would surrender his law enforcement power to Robredo, particularly to lead the administration’s war on drugs for six months.
This came after the vice president criticized his war on drugs as “obviously, not working” and called for a United Nations investigation on the matter.
The head of the opposition, Robredo doubted the sincerity of Duterte’s offer, saying if the President’s anti-drug campaign were successful, he won’t have to delegate it.
Duterte first appointed Robredo as chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council upon assuming power in 2016.
However, the vice president stepped down in December 2017 after being told by the Palace to “desist from attending all Cabinet meetings.”