MANILA – Retired Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio on Thursday scored President Rodrigo Duterte’s offer to Vice President Leni Robredo to serve as the country’s drug czar for 6 months.
"It doesn’t compute when President says: 'Ok, I’ll give you 6 months to do it.' Because he cannot do it in 6 months himself,” he said on ANC’s Headstart, prefacing his statement with a disclaimer that he is departing from the legal side.
Carpio recalled that it was the President himself who campaigned on the promise of eradicating the drug menace within 6 months.
"And after 6 months, he said: 'I cannot do it in 6 months, I need 1 year.' After a while, he said, I cannot do it within my term and even maybe after my term,” he said, quoting the President.
Around 6,000 have been killed under the government’s drug war based on official figures but human rights groups say the actual number of those killed have reached more than 20,000 with most of them coming from poor communities.
Carpio, during the third oral arguments on the petition before the Supreme Court questioning Duterte’s drug war in December 2017, had asked why law enforcers are ignoring drug lords while going after small-time drug peddlers.
“How come the flagship project of the President is concentrated on going after the small-time peddlers, why not the big-time drug lords?” he asked Solicitor General Jose Calida.
Calida explained that while the President’s instruction is to go after all of them, drug bigwigs were Chinese nationals who are in China, outside the jurisdiction of the Philippine legal system.
Carpio, on Thursday, however reiterated his position that the President can delegate certain functions to the Vice President.
“The President is vested by law with so many functions. And of course, physically, he cannot do all these things. So the President works by delegating functions. So he can delegate to anyone,” he said.
“Of course, it’s President who supervises. Supervision and control,” he added.