By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo on Friday responded to “drug czar” challenge of President Rodrigo Duterte, noting that if the government was “really serious” about it – proper channels should be utilized.
Issuing a statement, OVP spokesperson Atty. Barry Gutierrez noted that, as early as 2016, Robredo “already engaged” with Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and other agencies “to give suggestions on how to improve government efforts against illegal drugs.”
However, he noted, “her inputs were not acted on” and that the administration “excluded her from further discussions soon after.”
Earlier, the President said that he was willing to give Robredo six months to take over all the anti-illegal drugs campaign and efforts of the government. Initially, Robredo refused to give any comment about this proposal – doubting the seriousness of the government.
Despite this, Gutierrez said that Robredo was willing to help in the efforts of the government to address the country’s illegal drug problem.
“Handa naman laging tumulong si VP Leni. Mula noon hanggang ngayon. Kung humihingi na ng saklolo ang Pangulo sa usapin ng “drug war,” daanin lang sana sa maayos na usapan — hindi sa text, hindi sa palabas sa media (From the beginning, VP Leni has always been willing to help. If the President is crying out for help when it comes to the issue of ‘drug war’, the VP is willing to help… we only ask that they do talk to us properly – not through text [message] or through exposure],” he added.
Gutierrez noted that it was not fair for Robredo to be suddenly at the receiving end of all the insults.
“What she will not stand for is being made a scapegoat for all the shortcomings of the ‘drug war’ for the past three and a half years,” he said. “This admin made the impossible promise to end crime and drugs in six months, and if they are now being called to account for their failure to deliver, they should not blame VP Leni for it,” he added.
Meanwhile, Gutierrez lamented the the President has to, once again, resort to launching tirade against her. “It is unfortunate that on the eve of one of our most holy days, a time for family and for prayer, the President is launching yet another tirade against VP Leni,” he said.
“Siguro, pagod lang talaga at masama ang pakiramdam. Makapagpahinga sana siya ngayong Undas (He is probably tired and not feeling well, hopefully, he would get enough rest this All Soul’s Day],” he ended.