Duterte won’t appoint new drug czar

Published November 30, 2019, 12:07 AM

by Ellalyn De Vera & Richa Noriega

By Genalyn Kabiling

President Rodrigo Duterte will no longer appoint a new anti-drug czar after the supposedly disappointing brief stint of Vice President Leni Robredo.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his speech following the oath-taking ceremony of newly appointed officials at the Malacañan Palace on September 17, 2019. (TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

The President said he learned his lesson from Robredo’s alleged incompetence, admitting that he fired her “in my mind” shortly after she began serving as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Illegal Drugs (ICAD).

“Nadala na ako. Hindi na ako mag anti-drug czar. Wag na yung czar-czar, that’s actually already adapted like a cliche. Parang cliche yang czar, parang Top Gun ng taas (I have had enough. I won’t appoint an anti-drug czar anymore. No more czar, that’s actually, that’s already adapted like a cliche like Top Gun],” he said in an interview over CNN Philippines Friday night.

“Ngayon ko lang nalaman, sabi ko na nga ba, eh, hindi pwede itong si Leni. Ba’t kasi maingay (I knew Leni couldn’t cut it. Why is she so noisy)?” he added.

The President sacked Robredo less than three weeks after putting her in charge of the government’s anti-drug campaign. Duterte was not pleased with Robredo’s alleged missteps such as taunting him to fire her, consulting with foreigners, and seeking access to classified documents.

In the television interview, Duterte explained he designated Robredo as ICAD co-chair in good faith but she used the post to engage in grandstanding.

He said Robredo was “making an a**h**** of herself” after opting to consult with United Nations and United States officials about the drug war. He said she should have consulted with local government officials, barangay captains, law enforcement agencies, and drug rehabilitation personnel.

“I fired her in my mind. Noon pa. First day pa lang nung sabi niya punta siya sa U.S. Embassy (I fired her in my mind since the first day when she said she was going to the U.S. Embassy),” he said.

“You were there grandstanding, pero hinayaan kita (but I let you be). Tapos (Then) you keep on taunting me, ‘I will continue, I will fight even if they put so many roadblocks so I cannot succeed.’ Kung magsalita ka nang ganun ng andiyan ka tapos yan pala ang tingin mo sa akin, eh loko-loko ka pala eh. Eh di paalisin na lang kita (You talk that way and all the while that’s what you think of me, then you’re a fool, so I’ll fire you),” he said.

He denied Robredo’s allegations that he was afraid about what she would discover about the drug war. He also insisted that the drug war is not a failure, adding it is a “never-ending war” against the transnational problem.

Dismayed with her alleged incompetence, Duterte advised Robredo not to run for president.

“Huwag ka tumakbo na pagka-Presidente, wala ka talagang alam. Wala ka talagang…Ayoko na sasabihin, dadalawang beses akong kumuha ng Bar, pero wala ka talagang alam (Don’t run for president, you don’t know anything. I don’t want to say it, but – I took the Bar twice, but you don’t know anything),” he said.