MANILA — Vice President Leni Robredo on Monday said she would release a report about the government's anti-narcotics drive, which she led for 18 days before being booted out by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, meanwhile, accused the Vice President of using her post as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) for "grandstanding."
Here is a timeline of Robredo's brief stint in the campaign which she lamented was fraught with senseless killings.
Robredo, a political rival of the popular Duterte, told Reuters that international help, including from the United Nations and International Criminal Court (ICC), should be sought if the government refused to change tack and stop abusive police.
Duterte said he would temporarily designate the Vice President as the country’s anti-drug czar for 6 months.
"Marami na siyang reklamo dun sa labas, o sige sabi nya you have to redirect, or whatever. Ngayon mas marunong ka man sa akin, I’ll hand to you full powers sa drugs. I’ll give you 6 months, tignan natin kung kaya mo,” Duterte told reporters.
"I am ready to concede to you powers that would cover all anti-drug activities by the government. Siya pa-anuhin ko. Clean slate para malaman niya kung gaano kadali mag-kontrol ng droga," he added.
Opposition figures like Sen. Leila De Lima and former senator Antonio Trillanes IV warned Robredo the offer was a trap to set her up for failure.
Malacañang released a letter in which Duterte appointed Robredo as co-chair of the ICAD.
Robredo accepted the post, saying she would go after drug bigwigs, policemen who allegedly resold seized narcotics, and officials who smuggled in tons of shabu into the country.
"Tinatanong nila ako kung handa ba ako para sa trabahong ito. Ang tanong ko: handa ba kayo para sa akin?" she said in a press conference.
(They ask me if I'm ready for this job. My question is: are you ready for me.)
Robredo met with members of the ICAD led by headed by Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Chief Aaron Aquino and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año.
Aquino during the meeting dared Robredo to join actual operations for a better understanding of the anti-narcotics campaign.
The Vice President called on law enforcement to use body cameras in anti-drug busts "to protect the integrity of anti-narcotics operations."
Robredo sat down with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) as she moved to shift the government’s bloody drug war to one adopting best practices while avoiding mistakes committed in other countries.
Robredo met with a US delegation to discuss possible partnerships to help combat the illegal drug menace.
Robredo said the Philippine National Police agreed to reassess "Oplan Tokhang," its knock-and-plead anti-drug strategy linked to controversial deaths.
The Vice President also revealed the US shared intelligence information with her during their meeting.
Robredo said she would seek help from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and other advocacy groups to ensure that the public takes part in government's revamped campaign against illegal drugs.
Robredo shrugged off Aquino's hesitance to give her a list of the top drug suspects in the country, saying she's used to working with "many limitations."
Meanwhile, Duterte warned he would remove Robredo from ICAD should she share classified information with foreign entities, Malacañang said.
Robredo said she would not leak confidential information on the drug war.
She also said the health department needed more funds to rehabilitate drug users.
Duterte said he did not trust the Vice President and that the latter could allegedly "jeopardize" the republic. He also rejected giving Robredo a Cabinet post.
Robredo meanwhile visited one of the poorest and drug-infested areas in the fishing city of Navotas.
The Vice President said Duterte should just tell her to leave ICAD if was not willing to trust her.
She also cautioned the President against buying into “fake news” that she had invited United Nations bodies to look into his drug war
During a visit to a community-based reformation center in Bataan, Robredo insisted on the rehabilitation route in combating the country's drug menace.
Malacañang told Robredo to resign from her drug war post if she is not comfortable with her position.
The Vice President on the same day visited Quezon City's Barangay Culiat, once notorious for being a drug-infested community, saying it may soon become a role model for other communities fighting illegal drugs.
Before leaving for South Korea, Duterte was quoted in media reports as apologizing to Robredo for accusing her of asking the UN to investigate the drug war.
Duterte hours later fired Robredo "in response to the taunt and dare of VP Robredo for the President to just tell her that he wants her out," his spokesman Salvador Panelo said.
The Palace official also denied that Duterte apologized to Robredo.
Robredo in a press conference questioned what Duterte feared she would discover as leader of his anti-narcotics drive.
"Ano bang kinatatakutan n'yo na malaman ko, ano bang kinatatakutan n'yo na malaman ng taumbayan?" she said.
(When I accepted this job, my first question was, 'Are you ready for me?' Now my question is, 'What do you fear?' What do you fear that I and the public will know?)
"Kung sa tingin nila, matatapos ito dito, hindi nila ako kilala. Nagsisimula pa lang ako," she added.
(If they think it ends here, they don't know me. I'm only starting.)
With a report from Reuters