Offer to be drug czar Duterte’s ‘kind gesture’ to Robredo: Palace

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 30 2019 07:01 PM

MANILA- President Rodrigo Duterte’s offer to Vice President Leni Robredo to lead the government’s narcotics crackdown is a “kind gesture” for her to prove that she is not just all talk, Malacañang said Wednesday.

The offer was not meant to insult Robredo, Duterte’s spokesman Salvador Panelo said, after the President proposed earlier this week that she assume the post of drug czar for 6 months. 

“In the first place, it was not insulting, it was in fact a very kind gesture from the President. She will be given the venue and avenue to show, as I said, her mettle,” he told reporters.

Robredo, according to Panelo, has yet to respond to the President’s offer. He even showed reporters his text message to Robredo on the matter which remains unanswered, and said he even tried to call the vice president.

Panelo explained that 6 months was long enough for Robredo to prove that she has a more effective means of curbing the country’s illegal drug problem as he hinted that Duterte may give her the post for the remainder of his term, as earlier suggested by opposition Sen. Francis Pangilinan.

The Palace, however, has yet to send a formal letter to the vice president’s office contrary to Duterte’s earlier remarks.

Duterte’s challenge to Robredo came after she criticized his war on drugs as “obviously, not working” and called for a United Nations investigation on the matter.

The head of the opposition, Robredo doubted the sincerity of Duterte’s offer, saying if the President's anti-drug campaign were successful, he won't have to delegate it. 

The Palace, meanwhile, argued that accepting the drug czar post is Robredo’s chance to back her criticism.

“You know, Vice President Leni, this is a rare and very good opportunity for you to show everyone that you are not just good at criticizing,” Panelo said.

“Since you are criticizing that it is ineffective then the President is giving you a chance to show that it is indeed ineffective. This is your chance, show us,” he added.