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Home Op-Ed Columns Opinion on Page One VP Leni Robredo is checkmated

VP Leni Robredo is checkmated

RAMON T. TULFO

VICE President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo has been checkmated after she accepted the offer for her to become the country’s anti-drug czar.

She is bound to fail given her “zero killings” policy in the war on illegal drugs.


If President Digong, with all the powers at his command and a kill-them-if-they-resist policy, could not contain the drug traffic, how can VP Leni succeed with her lenient approach?

The country’s drug problem has become so pervasive and deeply rooted that an extirpation policy, one that goes to the source of the problem, is needed.

The President’s undoing is that he has not annihilated the drug sources because of the outcry from countries, which do not have the same drug problem as ours, and from the local bleeding hearts.

The drug problem is like a weed — for it not to grow back, the weed has to be uprooted or extirpated.

Cutting or pruning the weeds will make it grow again.

The government should go to the root or the source: the Chinese drug convicts at the New Bilibid Prison, politicians who protect drug traffickers, policemen who sell the drugs they seize, judges who acquit drug traffickers and peddlers, and prosecutors who deliberately file the wrong cases for an acquittal of drug suspects.

All of the personalities mentioned above should be killed without mercy for the drug problem to be completely eliminated.

Somehow, the President’s all-out war has been diluted by criticism from those quarters making him slow down.

The street-smart Digong knows that VP Leni will soon enough see the realities of the war on illegal drugs.

A soft approach to the drug problem, like what Mexico and Colombia did in the early stages of containing the drug crisis in their respective countries, has exploded in their faces.

In Colombia, the government was on the run from the drug cartel, but is now winning the war because of United States help.

Mexico, whose ambassador was offended when then presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte said he would not want to let the Philippines go the way of Mexico, seems to be losing in its war against the drug cartel.

Recently, the Mexican police released the son of a drug lord, who was being held on drug charges (what else?), after they were surrounded by soldados (soldiers) of the drug cartel.

* * *

Why did I say that VP Leni has been checkmated by her acceptance of the offer to head the war on illegal drugs?

Because now that she’s again a member of the Cabinet — the drug czar post is a Cabinet-level position — she can’t criticize the administration anymore on the war on drugs.

She can’t criticize lest she be accused of not being a team player.

* * *

I’ve been accused of not being a team player because of my criticisms of some incompetent and corrupt members of the Duterte administration.

I am saying this without batting an eyelash: I am not a member of the Duterte Cabinet.

I am a presidential special envoy to China, an honorific position; meaning, I don’t receive any compensation from the government.

Although I hold a diplomatic passport when I go to China on official business, I do so at my own personal expense.

* * *

I could have joined the Duterte administration on the day he was sworn into office on June 30, 2016 had I accepted Digong’s offer to be one of his alter egos.

But I did not for reasons I’ve already stated many times: I’m a journalist through and through and I would reach my level of incompetence if I went into another field.

(That’s the reason my sister, Wanda Teo, was appointed Tourism secretary. The decision was an afterthought, a result of my turning down Digong’s offer of a Cabinet post.)

I told the then president-elect that I would help him succeed in his new office by being an outsider looking in.

I would be a miron, a spectator who shouts at the players when they commit errors; like an agitated member of the audience in a basketball o chess game.

The president-elect agreed when I said I would be a gadfly in his administration: I would criticize people whom I perceive to be corrupt or incompetent.

* * *

Yesterday, I took the consequences of incurring the ire of the “little president,” Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, whom I’ve been criticizing in this space and on my Facebook account.

I perceive Medialdea to be incompetent and my opinion should be respected.

In the same way that I respect his decision to file libel cases against me — because in his small mind I have insulted him.

But this guy with the small mind is so powerful no prosecutor who handles his libel case against me, would be crazy enough to dismiss it.

Although I was not motivated by malice in writing that he’s incompetent, the prosecutor knows what’s better for him than to side with me.

Yesterday I paid P60,000 for my bail in the case of libel on two counts; P30,000 for the publication in The Manila Times and P30,000 for the publication in my Facebook account.

My co-respondents in the libel case — the publisher and editors of The Manila Times — posted their bail on Thursday, a day earlier.

I was in China on a mission to promote the country when I was informed that a libel case, one of 10 similar cases, had been filed against me in court.

I had to wake up at 8 a.m. to go to the Manila Regional Trial Court building — the vacated Office of the Ombudsman on Arroceros Street — even if I had just gotten back early yesterday (3 a.m.) from China.

And that’s only because I kept my promise to then president-elect Digong that I would be a gadfly in his administration to which, I repeat, he agreed.

That’s all in a day’s work.

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