'Diretsuhin ako': Robredo tells Duterte to tell her if he wants her out of drug war

Christian V. Esguerra, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 20 2019 01:14 PM | Updated as of Nov 20 2019 01:55 PM

MANILA — Vice President Leni Robredo said Wednesday President Rodrigo Duterte should just tell her to leave as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) if he was not willing to trust her. 

“Dapat direchuhin na lang ako. Direcho naman akong kausap... Kung ayaw na niya, kung nagkamali sya sa pag-appoint sa kin at gusto niyang bawiin, sabihin lang niya. Kasi ako, madali akong kausap," she told reporters after meeting with the Dangerous Drugs Board, the government’s policy-making body on the campaign.

(If he doesn't want me here, why did he appoint me? If he no longer wants me, if he thinks he was wrong in appointing me and would like to revoke it, he should just say so. I'm easy to talk to. But as long as work is expected of me, I will do it.)

Robredo, who’s barely 2 weeks into the job, said she was puzzled why the president named her in the first place.

“Hindi ko din maintindihan,” she added.

Asked if it was still worked staying at ICAD, she said: “It is always worth working for something we believe in.

“Naniniwala ako na marami tayong mako-contribute sa kampanya laban sa iligal na droga.”

Robredo said Duterte should also explicitly explain the scope of her work. 

"Parang binabalik samin yung pagdetermine...Kailangan siya yung magsabi ano ba yung mandatong binibigay sakin, ano ba yung limits," she said.

(It's like they want us to determine the mandates. He needs to be the one to establish the mandates given to me, what are the limits.)

"Wala naman akong plano na magsaklaw ng mandato ng iba. Dahil very general yung appointment sakin, sinabi na co-chair ako ng ICAD, ginagawa ko kung ano yung expectation sa co-chair ng ICAD."

(I have no plans to usurp others' mandates. Because my appointment was very general as ICAD co-chair, I'm doing what's expected of the ICAD co-chair.)

Robredo said she declined a classified briefing from her ICAD co-chair, Director General Aaron Aquino of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency until the president clarified the scope of her authority.

“I refused kasi sabi ko hihintayin ko muna yung sagot ni presidente sa aking clarification,” she said.

“Yung ayoko yung ma-accuse ako na lumalampas ako sa aking mandato.”

(I don't want to be accused that I am going beyond the mandate.)

Aquino had made a similar clarification from Malacañang, but was informed in a letter that it was up to the ICAD co-chairmen to determine, Robredo said, insisting the matter should be resolved by the appointing authority.

Duterte said a press conference late Tuesday night that he could not trust Robredo because she belongs to the political opposition and he does not know her.

He said the vice president also talked “too much,” seeking to justify his withdrawal of what was supposed to be a Cabinet-level appointment to the ICAD.