Robredo’s ‘missteps’ in anti-drug campaign cost her Duterte Cabinet post: Palace

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 19 2019 03:16 PM

MANILA- President Rodrigo Duterte would no longer appoint Vice President Leni Robredo to his Cabinet due to the latter’s supposed “missteps” during her first 2 weeks as drug czar, Malacañang said Tuesday.

Duterte viewed as slip-ups Robredo’s consultations with organizations and people critical of the government’s war on drugs; her request for unlimited access to information on the drug war; and her “tendency” to share confidential information, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.

Such blunders, according to Panelo, influenced Duterte’s “reconsideration of his earlier desire to appoint her in the Cabinet.” 

“These missteps not only derailed [President Duterte’s] well-meaning intent for the vice president to be part of the administration but registered red signs that could not be ignored,” Panelo said.

“To the President’s mind, that cannot be ignored so he decided not to appoint her in the Cabinet,” he added.

Robredo, head of the opposition, had asked for a list of the country’s top drug suspects but the request was rejected by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) despite her assurance not to publicly disclose classified information.

"'Yung assurance naman lahat na sensitive information hindi idi-disclose,” she told reporters Monday. 

(There’s an assurance that all sensitive information won’t be disclosed.)

Duterte earlier warned Robredo that he would fire her as co-chair of the ICAD if she revealed classified government matters to foreign entities. 

“She has talked with certain institutions and people that are supposed to be enemies of the state. To the mind of the President, that is a dangerous sign. You may not be doing it purposely but delikado (it’s dangerous),” Panelo said.

The Palace also has yet to see any new way to deal with the drug problem, Panelo said, as he called on the vice president to rush her proposed program to solve the narcotics issue.

“Ang kailangan kasi gawin ni Vice President Leni eh gumawa na siya ng kaniyang programa,” the Duterte spokesman said.

(What Vice President Leni needs to do is prepare her program.)

Robredo, who has criticized the President's war on drugs, earlier said she would shift the campaign's focus on preventing unnecessary killings, for which the administration has drawn international condemnation. 

Last week, she met with representatives from United States agencies involved in drug enforcement. Robredo has also expressed openness to meet with officials of other countries in relation to the anti-drug campaign.