MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte welcomed Vice President Leni Robredo's acceptance of her appointment as co-chair in government's anti-narcotics campaign, Malacañang said Thursday.
Duterte said it was "good" that Robredo accepted her designation to the inter-agency committee on anti-illegal drugs (ICAD), his spokesman Salvador Panelo said.
The President, during a Cabinet meeting Wednesday, said he expects Robredo to "see the realities on the ground," according to Panelo.
"Particularly with respect to the government's position against extrajudicial or state-sponsored killings, and understand that deaths occur due to the violent reactions on the part of agents of the illegal drug trade against the strict enforcement of the law," Panelo said.
Robredo had accepted Duterte's challenge for her to co-chair the anti-drugs committee, saying she would go after drug bigwigs, policemen who allegedly resold seized narcotics, and officials who smuggled tons of shabu into the country.
"Mr. President, dalawa't kalahating taon na lang ang naiiwan sa iyong administrasyon. Hindi pa naman huli ang lahat, puwede pa rin nating pagtulungan ito," she said.
(Only 2 and a half years are left in your administration. It's not too late, we can still work together on this.)
The Vice President, who used to be Duterte's housing secretary, has a frosty relationship with the chief executive as they are usually at odds over several policies and issues.
Last month, Robredo called on Duterte to allow the United Nations to investigate his war on drugs which she said was “obviously, not working," which prompted Malacañang's challenge to her to lead the anti-narcotics campaign.
She later clarified that she meant to urge administration leaders to "step back and assess" the narcotics crackdown.