MANILA - Senator Bong Go, a close ally of President Rodrigo Duterte, on Wednesday warned that if Vice President Leni Robredo wanted a softer approach on the war on drugs, there might be more deaths.
While Go welcomed Robredo's decision to accept her appointment as the co-chairperson of the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-illegal Drugs (ICAD), he was worried that a Robredo-style, less violent approach would embolden drug lords.
"Sa tingin ko gusto niya (Robredo) atang i-baby ang drug lords, gusto niya ata paramihin?" Go said of the vice president's preferred less-violent solutions to the drug menace.
(I think she wants to treat drug lords like babies. Does she want more drug lords?)
"Gusto namin mag-succeed siya pero natatakot po ako na mas dadami ang mga inosenteng mabibiktima nitong droga na ito... dahil hindi sila (drug lords) matatakot dahil ibe-baby niya (Robredo)," Go told reporters.
(We want her to succeed but I fear that more innocent people will be hurt because drug lords will not be afraid of someone who will treat them like babies.)
Drug users and peddlers can only be stopped when intimidated, he said.
"I’m sure kung hindi mo idaan sa takot itong drug lord na ito, dadami ang drug lord, dadami ang biktimang Pilipino," he said.
(I'm sure if you do not intimindate these drug lords, they will proliferate and the number of Filipino victims will increase.)
Senator Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa agreed that a soft approach in the drug war will not succeed.
Go's pronouncement shows that the role offered to Robredo was a political stunt, Office of the Vice President spokesperson Barry Gutierrez said.
"Nababahala ako na si Sen. Bong Go na isa sa mga unang humamon, biglang parang wala na siyang tiwala," Gutierrez told ABS-CBN News.
(I am worried that Sen. Bong Go, who was among the first to challenge the vice president, seemed to suddenly lose his trust.)
"Medyo malungkot lang isipin na hindi pa nagsisimula si VP Leni, meron nang ganiyang statement... [but] VP Leni has the habit of defying expectations," he said.
(It's just sad to think that there are already statements like when VP Leni has not yet even started.)