Duterte should not have appointed Robredo to ICAD post if he distrusts her – Pangilinan

By Vanne Elaine Terrazola 

Senator Francis Pangilinan on Friday said President Duterte should just fire Vice President Leni Robredo from the Interagency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) instead of threatening and hurling tirades against her.

Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan (Photo from Kiko Pangilinan website / kikopangilinan.com / MANILA BULLETIN) Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan (Photo from Kiko Pangilinan website / kikopangilinan.com / MANILA BULLETIN)

"Kung ayaw nila si VP Leni bilang drug czar, walang pumipigil sa kanila na tanggalin siya sa nasabing pwesto (If they do not want VP Leni as drug czar, nothing is preventing them from firing her),” Pangilinan said in a statement.

"Itigil na nila ang pananakot na tatangalin si VP Leni sa pwesto at itigil din ang pasaring at pang-iinuslto na hindi maaring pagkatiwalaan si VP Leni. Hindi kapit-tuko sa pwestong drug czar si VP Leni (They should stop threatening to sack the Vice President and their tirades and insults that she cannot be trusted. VP Leni is not clinging on that drug czar post)," he said.

The Liberal Party president said Duterte should not have appointed Robredo in the ICAD in the first place if he distrusts her.

He surmised that Malacañang officials are now criticizing Robredo because they did not expect that she would accept Duterte's offer for her to lead his administration's war on illegal drugs.

Pangilinan dismissed their statements as "non-sense, no basis and made up."

On Tuesday, Duterte said he cannot trust Robredo even as he already designated her as co-chair of the ICAD. He said he would not appoint Robredo to be a part of his Cabinet for fear that she will leak vital government information.

He also said Robredo, being an ICAD co-chair, could give directions and guidelines but should not interfere with the anti-drug operations.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Robredo committed "missteps" which cost her the Cabinet post, particularly, by consulting foreign organizations that are critical of Duterte's drug war, and supposedly asking for classified government information.

Robredo later defended her actions as part of her plan to focus on reducing illegal drug supply in the country.

"Ang kay VP Leni lang, hindi patayan ang solusyon sa problema ng droga. Ang drug addiction ay isyu ng kalusugan kaya’t isyu ito ng pagpapagaling ng sakit. At gagawin niya ang lahat para masalba ang mga buhay ng mga Pilipino. Tulad ng milyon-milyon nating mga kababayan, ayaw niya ang araw-araw na patayan," Pangilinan said.

(For VP Leni, killings will not solve the problem with illegal drugs. Drug addiction is a health issue, so this is an issue of curing an illness. And she will do everything to save the lives of each Filipino. Like the millions of our countrymen, she does not want the killings that has been happening everyday.)