Vice President Leni Robredo’s removal as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) less than three weeks into her appointment is proof that Mr. Duterte is afraid to let her win the anti-narcotics campaign in the country.
Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima made the assertion as she maintained that Duterte effectively admitted he was defeated in his own challenge to Robredo to rid the country of illegal drugs when he unceremoniously fired her as the country’s “drug czar.”
“Mga kababayan, may kumurap na po. Sa hindi naman katagalan na titigan ng ating dalawang pinakamataas na opisyales, merong isa na hindi na nakatiis at kusang bumigay sa hamunan na kung sino ang mas may tapang at may tatag,” she said in her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 653.
“By firing VP Leni Robredo, he has admitted that he was caught in his own trap, defeated in his own challenge, and thoroughly exposed as a man without honor and whose word is as good as the next lie that comes out of his big mouth,” she added.
Last Nov. 6, it may be recalled that the Vice President accepted Mr. Duterte’s dare for her to sit as co-chair of the government’s task force against illegal drugs despite well-meaning warnings from her allies that it could be a trap that is doomed to fail.
More than two weeks as co-chair of the anti-drug body, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo confirmed that Mr. Duterte decided to fire the Vice President from her post for allegedly using the post for “grandstanding.”
Duterte has publicly admitted he did not want Robredo to hold a Cabinet post because he does not trust her and that he disliked how the Vice President consulted international organizations as co-chair of the ICAD.
During her 19-day tenure, Robredo has visited community-based rehabilitation centers for drug dependents and drug-infested communities and consulted officials from the US and United Nations.
The lady Senator from Bicol explained that Mr. Duterte showed the public that “Malacañang’s official stationery on which appointments are written is as good as toilet paper, and that his signature is worth a 3-year-old’s doodle.”
“Walang kwenta. Walang saysay. Yan ang salita at lagda ni Duterte. At sa kanyang pagsuko sa sariling hamon niya kay Robredo, tinuldukan na rin niya ang matagal nang tinatanong ng marami sa taumbayan na kung ang kanyang tapang ay tunay at may paninindigan,” she said.
“Kumurap na po ang Pangulo. Bahag ang buntot at nakataas ang dalawang kamay na nagsasabing hindi na siya lalaban; na ang kanyang tapang ay isa lamang kathang-isip na iginuhit sa ating guni-guni ng mga propagandistang bayaran,” she added.
In her Dispatch from Crame No. 645, De Lima lauded Robredo’s unrelenting spirit and determination in solving the worsening illegal drug problem in the country despite efforts by some pro-administration allies to discredit her.