MANILA—President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said he is offering Vice-President Leni Robredo a chance to solve the illegal-drugs problem in the country, since it appears she has a lot to say about the issue.
"Siya itong madaldal, dito pati sa labas. Baka may alam siyang mas mabuting . . . If she knows a better method of dealing with the problem, then baka may ano talaga. If you criticize, you must have the answer. If you question, you must have the answer," Duterte told reporters after visiting his parents' tomb in Davao City.
(She's the one who talks a lot, here and overseas. Maybe she knows better. If she knows a better way to deal with the problem, then maybe she's on to something. If you criticize, you must have the answer. If you question, you must have the answer.)
Duterte also said he is giving Robredo the rest of his term to straighten out the narcotics mess in the country.
"Bakit ko bigyan si Leni ng six months? Ibigay ko lahat, the remaining term, remaining days of my term, kung gusto niya," he said.
(Why would I give Leni six months? I'll give her the remaining days of my term if she wants.)
Duterte has offered the "drug czar" post to Robredo after criticizing his war on illegal narcotics as "obviously, not working."
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Thursday said Duterte was serious, adding that should Robredo succeed, it would be "ultimately a triumph" for Filipinos.
Robredo, who heads the opposition, had doubted the sincerity of Duterte’s offer, saying if the President's anti-drug campaign was a success, he would not have passed on the responsibility.
But Panelo said Duterte wanted Robredo to win the war on drugs.
"The Office of the President wishes to be categorical — and contrary to the claim of critics and detractors of this administration, we want VP Leni to succeed, her success being of the Filipino people against the dreaded and destructive evil that is destroying the basic fabric of our society," he said in a statement.
Robredo, who used to be Duterte's housing secretary, has had a frosty relationship with the chief executive as they are usually at odds over policies and issues.