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Challenge accepted: Leni is new drug czar

Challenge accepted: Leni is new drug czar

MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo has accepted the offer of President Rodrigo Duterte to take a role in the government’s campaign against illegal drugs.

A Malacañang memorandum dated October 31 designated Robredo as co-chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) until June 2022.

In a televised speech, Robredo said she accepts the designation to the ICAD to stop the killings of innocent people and to make sure that abusive officials, such as “ninja cops”, will be held liable.

“Kahit sabihin natin na ang alok na ito ay pamumulitika lamang at hindi naman talaga ako susundin ng mga ahensya at gagawin nila ang lahat para hindi ako magtagumpay handa akong tiisin ang lahat ng ito,” Robredo said. (Even if we say that the offer is a politicized move and the agencies will not follow me and that they will do everything to make sure I fail, I will endure all of this.)

‘Even just one innocent life’

The vice president admitted that many people had advised her not to accept the job as it might just be a trap to humiliate her.

“Dahil kung meron akong maililigtas na kahit isang inosenteng buhay ang sinasabi ng prinsipyo at puso ko ay kailangan ko itong subukan,” she said. (Because if I can save just one innocent life, my principle and my heart are telling me that I should try.)

Robredo stressed that Duterte knows she is against the drug war. She warned the president that she will not stop expressing her opposition against the campaign even if she takes the ICAD post.

“Simula pa lang handa tayong tumulong sa ikabubuti ng bayan pero kailanman hindi natin isusuko ang ating mga paniniwala. Hindi laru-laro ang usapang ito. Seryosong usapan ‘pag buhay ang nakataya,” Robredo said. (From the start, we have been ready to help for the sake of the nation but I will never give up my principles. This is not a game. This is is a serious issue because lives are at stake.)

‘Are you ready for me?’

Upon ending her speech, Robredo told Duterte that it is not yet too late for them to work together in addressing the country’s drug problem as they still have two and a half years left on their term.

“Tinatanong nila ako kung handa ba ako para sa trabahong ito. Ang tanong ko — handa ba kayo sa akin?” she said. (They have been asking me if I am ready for this job. My question is this — are you ready for me?)

PRO-7: It’s Welcome

Police Regional Office-7 director Brigadier General Valeriano de Leon commended the President for appointing Robredo, considering that Region 7 is “infested with illegal drugs.”

“It is public knowledge that some areas in region 7 are infested with illegal drugs. In fact, some of the personalities mentioned by the president in his drug watch-list are in Central Visayas,” de Leon said.

“Even some of the so-called narco generals are here in Cebu,” he added.

De Leon expressed that the President’s appointment of Robredo is an indication of “unity” to solve the problem.

 “I think the appointment of VP Lenie Robredo as co-chair of  ICAD by the President is a welcome development, which means we have a healing President, that he wants to unite everybody to join hands to once and for all,” he said.

Moreover, he said that the appointment is a good opportunity and Robredo must accept it for her to see “the magnitude of illegal drug problem.” Thus, she should be given her share by helping the president for the complete eradication of illegal drugs.

“So let’s look forward to this development seeing the president and vice-president working hand in hand against the proliferation of illegal drugs in our country,” de Leon concluded., JMD, (FREEMAN)


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