MANILA—Vice-President Leni Robredo will be part of the government’s narcotics crackdown — which she had many times criticized — after she accepted President Rodrigo Duterte's challenge to her to lead the drug war.
Robredo is set to co-chair the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-illegal Drugs (ICAD), which is headed by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
So, what will be Robredo's new responsibilities be?
ICAD, based on Executive Order No. 15, has the following specific functions:
- Ensure the effective conduct of anti-illegal drug operations and arrest of drug personalities, including street-level drug pushers and users;
- Lead and coordinate the implementation of the government's National Anti-Drug Plan of Action;
- Ensure the implementation of the administration's Barangay Drug-Clearing Program;
- Ensure the intensive conduct of anti-illegal drug advocacy campaign initiatives;
- Ensure the roles and responsibilities of member agencies are carried out;
- Remove government personnel involved in illegal drugs from office and;
- Ensure that the government's anti-illegal drug objectives are achieved.
ICAD also has four clusters with specific functions:
a. Enforcement Cluster - Responsible for conducting anti-illegal drug operations with the support of other law enforcement agencies through PDEA and the National Anti-Drug Task Force.
b. Justice Cluster - Responsible for the prosecution of all drug cases, provision of legal assistance to law enforcers and ensuring availability of public attorneys for protection on individuals' rights.
c. Advocacy Cluster - Assigned to conduct nationwide advocacy campaign for the government's anti-illegal drug policy and all anti-narcotics related programs.
d. Rehabilitation and Reintegration Cluster - Implements drug rehabilitation programs and ensure reintegration of former drug dependents and personalities to society.
PDEA chief Gen. Aaron Aquino told ANC Wednesday that Robredo "will maybe be more effective handling the rehabilitation and reintegration and the advocacy cluster."
Aquino, who handles the enforcement and justice clusters, downplayed worries from Robredo's allies that the latter will not have authority over his two clusters.
Robredo's allies earlier said the appointment was meant to shame the Vice President, whom they think will fail in her new job.
"It doesn't mean if she handles those two clusters, she doesn't have any say on those two clusters I'm handling so she can put any program or maybe do something for the betterment," Aquino said.