A chair, a ladder

Published November 12, 2019, 12:54 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza & Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat



Jullie Y. Daza
Jullie Y. Daza

One critic disarmed. In showbiz lingo, a “love team” is born.

Vice President Leni Robredo and PDEA director general Aaron Aquino look good together as working partners, co-chairmen of that multiagency called ICAD.

Will two heads in ICAD produce better results than one, with the brave and indefatigable PDEA chief already the face of the drug war? Days before Ms. Robredo accepted her new chair after Secretary Panelo’s offer of a “ladder to the presidency,” Mr. Aquino opined that her lack of experience in law enforcement was a point against her. She has obviously forgiven him for that all but sexist remark. In the war against drugs, she replied, there should be no room for “emotions.”

ICAD, according to the PDEA chief, operates with four clusters pretty much like the President’s cabinet. These are enforcement, justice, advocacy and rehabilitation, and reintegration. We have not heard if the VP is amenable to the suggestion that she take charge of advocacy, rehab, and reintegration. As words go, advocacy, rehab, reintegration
refer to the “soft” side of law enforcement and justice (crime and punishment), but as it happens she’s a lawyer whose criticisms of drug ops have centered on the need to save lives and uphold human rights, which are legal issues.

While waiting to see how the partnership will jell – in showbiz, love teams become more interesting when they display their occasional temper tantrums – there are two simple things the VP can include in her to-do list without wasting more time. One, direct policemen to shoot to disable, not to kill. Two, ask her allies in Congress to revisit the helmet law that gives riding-in-tandem assassins license to kill and then vanish into thin air.

What if the VP fails? As in love, better to have loved and lost than chickening out at first sight. If President
Duterte couldn’t do it in his first six months with 20-plus agencies of ICAD and more under his command, can an additional co-chair do it in two years? Next question, will the Commander in Chief want to look over her shoulder, tweak her agenda, overrule her, redirect the course of her campaign?