MANILA - Catholic bishops, among the fiercest critics of the government's bloody war against illegal drugs, have praised Vice President Leni Robredo's decision to accept her designation as co-chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD).
Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David admitted that he was "full of apprehensions" when the vice president announced that she was accepting President Rodrigo Duterte's appointment.
But the bishop said he admired Robredo's "bold decision" especially when she explained her reasons for accepting the challenge.
"I admired her even more for her sincerity. I was most touched by that part in her speech when she said, 'if I can just save one innocent life,'" the prelate said in a Facebook post on Thursday.
"I can only assure her of my prayers and moral support."
David, a staunch critic of the administration's campaign against illegal drugs where thousands have been killed, has been on the receiving end of the President's tirades.
With Robredo's appointment, the bishop reiterated that the church also wants to address problems concerning illegal drugs but in the right way.
"The Church is a partner of government in every sincere effort to solve the problem of illegal drugs firmly but humanely, to address it at its roots but respect human lives and human rights. We are partners of government if it deals with addiction mainly as a health issue than as a crime," David added.
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo also expressed his support for the vice president.
"I support the decision of VP Leni to take on the challenge to be the drug czar. Her purpose for taking on this charge is clear – to save human lives and to make government accountable for its actions," Pabillo, who also serves as chairman of CBCP's Episcopal Commission on the Laity, said in an interview with Radio Veritas.
"I hope the government agencies cooperate with her efforts and intentions."
Robredo, who has had differences with the President and had criticized the drug war, announced on Wednesday she had accepted the position.
The vice president said she wants to include the private sector such as advocacy groups and the Catholic Church in the ICAD.