Palace tells Robredo: Stay away from drug war critics

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 24 2019 09:00 PM

Vice President Leni Robredo speaks during an interview with Reuters in Quezon City, October 23, 2019. Ronn Bautista, Reuters

MANILA - Vice President Leni Robredo should “detach” herself from critics of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, Malacañang said Thursday, as it alleged that the opposition head is only echoing black propaganda against the administration.

Robredo on Wednesday called on Duterte to allow the United Nations to investigate his war on drugs and abandon the campaign which she said was “obviously, not working.” 

Duterte’s spokesman Salvador Panelo slammed Robredo’s remark, saying the Vice President’s claim lacked factual basis.

“She may not realize it but she is echoing the lies and black propaganda of some of her colleagues in the political opposition, which to say the least is unfortunate, especially since she was part of the Cabinet when the government’s program against the drug menace was launched,” Panelo said.

The Vice President left the Duterte cabinet in December 2016, 6 months into the administration. 

Robredo, according to Panelo, should instead be more active in consulting Filipinos on their views on the narcotics crackdown instead of listening to her advisers.

“We can only hope that VP Robredo do more active consultation with her Filipino constituencies instead of totally relying on the insights given by her advisers whose ideas contradict the realities on the ground. She is better off without them,” Panelo said.

“She should rely more on her motherly instincts and gut-feel as a lawyer,” he added.

Duterte has faced local and international criticism for his bloody war on drugs, which human rights advocates say has claimed at least 27,000 lives since he was elected in 2016.

The Duterte government, however, has insisted that only over 5,000 drug suspects were killed by police in anti-narcotics operations from the start of the administration until June this year, and that they had all put up a fight.

In July, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution seeking a comprehensive report on the Philippines' human rights situation, including alleged drug killings.