By Hanah Tabios
The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday hit back at House Speaker Allan Peter Cayetano, following his criticism that Robredo started “on the wrong mouth” as the new anti-drug czar.
In an interview aired over CNN Philippines’ The Source, Atty. Barry Gutierrez, Robredo’s spokesperson, said Cayetano’s statements were “uncalled for.”
“The statement coming from Speaker of the House is really very very disappointing,” he said.
“And you know even before she has settled down to work, she has been on the job a week, we have this you know discouraging and I think uncalled for statement on the part of the Speaker of the House. So you know, at this point, we are grateful to the bulk of the government agencies involved in the anti-drug campaign [that] expressed support,” the spokesman added, citing that even the Palace expressed its support to Robredo.
Gutierrez pointed out that Cayetano should reconsider his position on the matter given that the country’s second-highest official has been on the job for only a week.
In a separate television interview, Cayetano, who is an ally of the administration, slammed Robredo saying that the supposed “Oplan Tokhang” has transformed into “Operation All Talk.”
“I’ve been monitoring the last three days and parang from Operation Tokhang, naging Operation All Talk. Pag-upo palang, UN papasukin ba o hindi? Tokhang tanggaling mo, et cetera. Then now, she is saying magpapabriefing ka sa lahat ng departments at lahat ng agencies. Hindi pa pala nagbibriefing, so why all of these ideas and criticisms?,” the speaker said on Monday.
As a response, Gutierrez told Cayetano to make up his mind after the speaker himself earlier asked the opposition to stop ‘politicizing’ the drug war.
“I will instead see whether his statements that he will support the Vice President, that he will be able to set aside politics will actually be reflected in the actions that he will take as the leader of the house,” Gutierrez said.
“I will wait to see what actions he takes as Speaker of the House. [Because] obviously, the congress will have a huge role here, not the least of which will be providing the adequate funding for the anti-drug effort in ensuring that there is adequate support for initiatives like for example, the procurement of body cameras which the Vice President already mentioned during the other day,” he added.
Meanwhile, Robredo’s camp is also open to discuss with the lower house her plans about leading the inter-agency body on anti-illegal drugs. But Gutierrez noted that it is still premature to ask the VP to give the full comprehensive list of her plans since it was just barely a week after she assumed the post.