Duterte fires Robredo as ICAD co-chair

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 24 November) — President Rodrigo Duterte has fired Vice President Leni Robredo as co-chair of Interagency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) on Sunday after expressing dissatisfaction on her performance as drug czar.

Robredo accepted the post on November 6.

In a statement, Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the designation of Robredo was an offer to make the campaign against illegal drugs better, “ a chance where both this Administration and the political opposition could have unified in fighting the social ill that has destroyed the lives of many and imperiled thousands others” but Robredo, he said, “wasted such opportunity and used the same as a platform to attack the methods undertaken by this Administration.”

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte chats with Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo at the sidelines of the 38th Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) Commencement Exercises for ‘Masidlak’ Class of 2017 at Camp General Mariano N. Castañeda in Silang, Cavite on March 24, 2017. MARCELINO PASCUA/Presidential Photo

Panelo said the President’s firing Robredo was also “in response to the suggestion of Liberal Party President, Senator Francis Pangilinan, to just fire the Vice President from her post” and in response as well to the “taunt and dare of VP Robredo for the President to just tell her that he wants her out.”

“It is time to put the issue to eternal rest and bury it in the graveyard of what could have been, as well as dismiss any obstacle that impedes the government to focus on the issue at hand,” he said.

The announcement of Robredo’s firing came a day after Duterte said sorry for believing the “fake news” that she invited investigators from the United Nations (UN) to come to the country to probe the anti-drug campaign of his administration.

“I am sorry because I said you only realize that it is false news when the news comes out. And you hear it and you talk about it, you react to it, that is the problem,” Duterte told reporters on Saturday.

Duterte initially dared Robredo to be the drug czar, which he said would be a Cabinet position. Robredo accepted the challenge. She was not named Cabinet member but as ICAD co-chair.

Duterte later said he could not trust Robredo because she belongs to the opposition Liberal Party. “Hindi kami magka-partido (we are not partymates),” he said.

He added his acquaintance with Robredo was during the presidential race of 2010 when they campaigned for then Senator Benigno Aquino III who ran and later won as President.

“Nagkampanya kami kay (I campaigned for) Aquino for the simple reason that the mother of Aquino (late President Corazon Aquino) appointed me once upon a time the vice mayor OIC (officer-in-charge) of Davao City,” he added.

Dissatisfied with Robredo’s performance as co-chair of ICAD, the President said she has yet to see the Vice President perform her job. 

“She would be asking for the job description. It’s there in the law, it’s there in the executive order creating itong ICAD, ICAD o ICAD. Nandiyan ‘yan. So basahin lang niya ‘yan (she just needs to read that), it’s all there and that is where she would really exercise,” he added. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)