MANILA - Malacañang on Saturday urged the public to give Vice President Leni Robredo a "wide latitude" to pursue her own policies as newly-appointed co-chair of the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD).
In the same breath, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Robredo's earlier statement that she intends to enforce government's anti-narcotics policy without "senseless killings" should not be used to "pit" the Vice President against other government officials with a different view.
"The Vice President must be given a wide latitude in outlining her own anti-illegal drug scheme and pursue, without interference from other quarter backers, her own agenda which she envisions to be effective in addressing the drug menace," Panelo said in a statement.
"We call on everybody to give VP Leni space, allow her to perform her assigned task and not to create roadblocks and imagined conflicts," he said.
Panelo also lauded Robredo's willingness to join anti-narcotics operations, saying such exposure could change her perception of the government’s war on drugs.
Joining buy-busts would be a way for Robredo to “see the hostile and mortal realities on the ground that could pave the way for the reassessment of her previous adversarial position on the government’s relentless drive against prohibited drugs or her adoption of better and effective measures not heretofore done,” he said.
Opposition leader Robredo on Wednesday accepted her appointment as ICAD co-chair, saying she would pursue an anti-drug campaign without “senseless” killings.
President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Robredo to the post after the Vice President slammed the drug war, calling on the chief executive to allow the United Nations to investigate the drug war, which she said was “obviously, not working.”
She later clarified that she meant to urge administration leaders to "step back and assess" the narcotics crackdown. Duterte's anti-drug campaign has been criticized globally for thousands of killings, but the administration has defended it, saying those slain had resisted arrest.