MANILA - Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday said the drug war will continue with the "same vigor and intensity" but "within the bounds of rule of law and human rights."
"'Yung laban sa illegal na droga will continue with the same vigor, intensity. Ang iibahin natin ay 'yung manner by which ginagawa ito," Robredo told reporters in Tanay, Rizal.
(The anti-drug campaign will continue with the same vigor, intensity. What we will change is the manner by which it is implemented.)
“Papalitan natin 'yung metrics, hindi sa numero ng pinapatay pero 'yun metrics sa numero ng napapabuting mga buhay."
(We will change the metrics, not on the number of dead but on the number of lives being changed for the better.)
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier designated Robredo as co-chair of the inter-agency committee on anti-illegal drugs (ICAD), a cabinet position. Robredo, who has had differences with the President and had criticized the drug war, announced on Wednesday she had accepted the position.
Robredo said her decision to take on the role was not related to the 2022 presidential elections.
“Kung iniisip ko 'yung 2022, hindi ko 'to tatanggapin kasi too much of a risk,” she said.
(If I was thinking of the 2022 elections, I would not have accepted because it's too much of a risk.)
"Nadedehado masyado ang mga kababayan 'pag kaming nakaupo tinitingnan na ang 2022, 'pag inisip ko 'yung 2022, aakyat ba ako dito sa bundok na konti ang tao?" added Robredo, who took a one-and-a-half hour hike to remote Sitio Macantog where she distributed solar kits from One Meralco Foundation to a school and 60 houses.
(Our countrymen are placed at a disadvantage when we government officials are already thinking of the 2022 elections. If I was thinking of 2022, would I hike a mountain where there are a few people?)
Asked if she plans to join police raids or inspections at the Bureau of Customs, Robredo said everything was possible.
Robredo is scheduled to gather officials of member agencies of the ICAD on Friday afternoon, which will include a briefing from her co-chair, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Aaron Aquino.
She said she was brushing aside negative comments Aquino had made about her prior to her acceptance of the post. The PDEA chief had earlier said Robredo would fail as drug czar for lack of experience in the anti-narcotics campaign.
“Hindi ako apektado ng lahat ng sinabi kasi sa akin trabaho lang ito,” Robredo, a lawyer and former lawmaker, said.
(I am not affected by everything said about me because for me, it's all about work.)
Robredo also said she has already consulted with former officials on the drug war when she accepted the ICAD post.
She said she still has no plans of getting her own people as the budget and the details of her post still have to be ironed out.
Robredo, however, added that she wants to include the private sector such as advocacy groups and the Catholic Church in the ICAD.
“Kasi minsan 'pag lahat gobyerno may tendency na alam mo 'yun parang magsarili, na hindi nabibigyan ng boses 'yung iba,” she said.
(Because sometimes, when everyone is from government, there's a tendency to think for oneself, the others are not given a voice.)
Robredo said her anti-drug work will have “minimum disruption” to her on-going work with private partners in uplifting living conditions in far-flung provinces.