First, Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo criticized President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s war against illegal drugs, saying the President’s crusade isn’t working. She added that the campaign targeted only the poor, and police authorities are allowed to abuse their power. As usual, she was unable to substantiate her allegations.
When she spoke on television against President Duterte, Robredo made occasional half smiles and smirks. It was almost as if she was delighted in the idea that the drug menace was still very much around to destroy the youth and the nation’s social fabric. She didn’t seem to mind if the President’s war on illegal drugs fails, because the failure of the President works to her advantage.
Second, Robredo’s mouthpiece and political stooge, Ibarra Gutierrez, quickly echoed his master’s opinion, and like his master, he had hard facts enough to at least dispute the statistical evidence presented by Malacañang spokesman Salvador Panelo showing that the administration’s anti-drug campaign has been doing very well.
Next, an exasperated President Duterte challenged Robredo to put her money where her mouth is and take the lead in the fight against the illegal drug trade. The President said if Robredo thinks she can do a better job in handling the anti-narcotics campaign, then she should take the challenge.
President Duterte offered Robredo a Cabinet-level post as the co-chairman of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs, an office created on 15 March 2017 under Executive Order 15 issued by the President.
On 31 October 2019, the President sent the corresponding appointment papers to Robredo’s office. It was up to Robredo to take the offer or reject it.
Fourth, Gutierrez complained that the position offered to Robredo is inexistent under the executive order, and it has no power. He branded the President’s offer as an attempt by the administration to make his master a scapegoat for the shortcomings of the President’s war against illegal drugs.
Analysts saw Gutierrez’ statement as an admission that even if Robredo were to take charge of the anti-narcotics campaign, it will fail, just as they labeled the Presidents anti-illegal drugs crusade as a failure.
At any rate, Panelo defended the President’s offer to Robredo, saying that as the head of the Executive branch of the national government, “The President has the continuing authority to reorganize the bureaucracy.”
Next, Rep. Edcel Lagman of the anachronistic Liberal Party said Robredo is being set up to fail, in the event that she accepts the appointment offered to her. Lagman added that if Robredo does accept the appointment, she will waste her time contending with the inter-agency committee chairman and the 20 estimated agencies which comprise the committee.
It will be recalled that Lagman used to be a staunch critic of ex-President Benigno Aquino III of the LP. Now, he is a member of the party he used to disdain and a vocal stooge of Robredo.
Consequently, observers seriously doubt if Lagman can be trusted as an ally of Robredo, or if he even knows what he is talking about.
For his part, Panelo urged Robredo to consider the President’s offer as a chance to prove her competence. He even suggested that if Robredo is successful fighting the drug menace, her chances of becoming president in 2022 may possibly improve.
Sixth, despite the protests of her stooges, Robredo accepted her appointment last Wednesday, 6 November 2019. However, and like the proverbial sour-graping wolf, Robredo told the media that despite her having accepted the appointment, President Duterte should not expect any kind of political accommodations from her.
LP Senator Risa Hontiveros, who often speaks up on impulse and nothing more, quickly heaped praises upon Robredo. Hontiveros did not explain how Robredo’s acceptance of an appointment, without any work done by Robredo so far, is an accomplishment per se.
Surprisingly silent, albeit temporarily, were Gutierrez and Lagman. The two look like Robredo puppies ignored by their master. It’s either that, or Robredo is simply fickle, which is an indication that the administration’s anti-narcotics campaign, with Robredo leading it, has been derailed. The people just don’t realize yet.