Duterte appointing Robredo to 'non-existent' position, says VP spox

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 05 2019 06:39 PM | Updated as of Nov 06 2019 08:53 AM

MANILA - Vice President Leni Robredo was yet to respond to President Rodrigo Duterte's order for her to co-chair the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), a spokesman said Tuesday.

"We're not yet responding to the letter," Robredo's spokesman, lawyer Barry Gutierrez said in a press conference Tuesday, adding that the offer appeared to be "not serious." 

Gutierrez emphasized that the offered position was "non-existent," based on the Executive Order 15, a Malacanang order that established the creation of ICAD.

"Walang power itong co-chair nitong ICAD...Hindi seryoso itong offer na ito. Clearly this is just a way to pass on ang mga pagkukulang nitong drug war dito kay VP Leni," he added. 

(This position has no power at all. The offer is not serious.)

Gutierrez said it was also surprising that instead of being designated as drug czar, Robredo was named co-chair, alongside the head of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Aaron Aquino, whose rank is only undersecretary. 

"Paano naman namin ite-take seriously ang ganitong order?" Gutierrez said. 

(How will we take this order seriously?)

Robredo is expected to speak on her position on the drug war, including her comments on Duterte's appointment on Wednesday, said Gutierrez. 

He said Robredo did not even ask for the post, and that it was Duterte who started the talk about the vice president becoming an anti-illegal drugs czar. 

Last month, Robredo had called on Duterte to allow the United Nations to make a comprehensive review on his war on drugs which she said was “obviously, not working,” prompting Malacanang's challenge for her to lead the drug war. 

She later clarified that she meant to urge administration leaders to "step back and assess" the narcotics crackdown.

Earlier Tuesday, Duterte, through Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, asked Robredo to lead the campaign against illegal narcotics.

"I am pleased to transmit herewith your designation letter, signed by President Rodrigo Duterte, as co-chairperson of the inter-agency committee on anti-illegal drugs (ICAD)," the letter, dated October 31, 2019, read.