Some lawmakers at the House of Representatives welcomed Vice President Leni Robredo’s decision to accept President Rodrigo Duterte’s offer, designating her as the co-chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD).
Ako Bicol Party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin expressed optimism that Robredo’s appointment would bear a more holistic approach in government’s campaign against illegal drugs.
“Ako Bicol Party-list is pleased to know that that Vice President Leni Robredo accepted President Duterte’s appointment to be the country’s anti-illegal drugs czar by being the co-chair of the Interagency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs,” Garbin said.
“We expect nothing but best efforts from the Vice President, setting aside political differences, for the good of the country,” he added.
Garbin also hoped Robredo would be given the full trust and support of the administration, especially the law enforcement agencies, in the policies and reforms which she would be championing.
“As always, Ako Bicol Party-list is ready to assist in the fight against illegal drugs whichever way it can, once called upon to do so. In this light, we ask the public to give the Vice President its support and trust so that we can all be together in fighting against a common menace, in fighting against the proliferation of illegal drugs,” Garbin said.
Agusan del Norte Rep. Lawrence Fortun said Robredo’s acceptance of Duterte’s offer would be an opportunity for the two foremost officials of the country to again work together on a very critical campaign of the present administration.
“While initially, there were adverse exchanges from Malacañang and the Office of the Vice President on this matter, the Vice President’s acceptance as co-chair of the IAC-AID should be a welcome development for the country,” Fortun said.
“The President and the Vice President have been working apart from each other and have, as we have all observed, dealing with each other at arms-length,” he added.
Fortun said the Congress would continue to exercise oversight powers to ensure that the war on drugs is “effective, comprehensive, and respectful of the Constitution.”
“The crackdown on illegal drugs should continue unrelentingly, but always with due observance of the rule of law and due process,” Fortun added.
ACT-CIS Party-list Rep. Niña Taduran, meanwhile, expressed hope that Robredo’s new role would give the government’s anti-drug campaign its “second wind.”
“In solving complex problems like illegal drugs, sometimes what is needed is a fresh perspective, and this is exactly what the Vice President is bringing to the table”, Taduran said.
“Napansin ko na puro mga magagaling at may kasanayang opisyal ang nagpapatakbo ng kampanya kontra droga, at puro din sila lalaki, pero andyan pa rin ang problema (I noticed that the officials leading the anti-drug campaign are great and adept, and most of them are men. But the problem still persists),” Taduran added.
Taduran said maybe the Vice President can offer some fresh insights on how to solve the problem, particularly from a woman’s point of view.
“Naturally, being a fellow female public servant, I am praying for the success of the Vice President,” she said.
In a memorandum dated October 31 and released on Tuesday, the Chief Executive designated Robredo as co-chairperson of the anti-drug body which is headed by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
The designation was made following demands by critics and detractors that enforcement power should be given to Robredo “through an official correspondence, and not just through a verbal or electronic communication”.
In accepting the role, Robredo said she wanted drug lords pursued and cops involved in narco-trafficking jailed.
“Tinatanong nila ako kung handa ba ako sa trabahong ito, ang tanong ko: Handa ba kayo para sa akin. Mr. President, dalawa’t kalahating taon nalang ang naiiwan sa iyong administrasyon, hindi pa naman huli ang lahat puwede pa nating pagtulungan ito (They are asking me if I am ready. My question to them is: Are you ready for me? Mr. President, there are two and a half years left in your administration, it’s not too late, we can work on this together),” she said. (PNA)