Panelo: Robredo’s ‘missteps’ pushed Duterte to change mind on Cabinet post offer

Robie de Guzman   •   November 19, 2019   •   269

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo’s actions – deemed as missteps – as the country’s co-chairperson of the government’s ant-illegal drug campaign has prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to decide against giving her a Cabinet post, Malacañang said Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the president’s decision follows Robredo’s meetings with officials from the United Nations and the United States and other community-based advocacy groups after she accepted the appointment to co-lead the inter-agency committee on anti-illegal drugs (ICAD).

“The Vice President talking with – and seeking the advice of – certain foreign institutions and personalities that have prejudged the campaign against illegal drugs as a violation of human rights, as well as a crime against humanity, did not sit well with the President,” Panelo said in a statement.

“The VP’s actions are all documented in mainstream and social media,” he added.

“These missteps not only derailed PRRD’s [President Rodrigo Roa Duterte] well-meaning intent for the Vice President to be part of the administration, but registered red signs that could not be ignored,” he further stated.

Panelo also said that Robredo’s request to get access to classified information on the government’s war on drugs, including the list of high-value targets, was a “revelation of which could imperil the welfare of the Filipino people and the security of the state.”

He said this added to the chief executive’s reconsideration of his earlier offer to give her a Cabinet post.

“Being a member of the Cabinet gives Ms. Robredo unlimited access to sensitive State matters which, if transmitted by her, whether purposely or otherwise could result to adverse consequences, especially since the VP has the tendency to be generous with acquired information and knowledge to others whose predilection may not be in the best interest of the country,” the Palace official said.

Duterte earlier clarified that Robredo is not a member of his Cabinet despite her designation as ICAD’s co-chair.

“I have not signed an appointment designating her as a cabinet,” the president said.

The president previously said he will appoint Robredo as a Cabinet member if she becomes anti-drug czar.

“I will swear her as a Cabinet member. First, balik siya so that she will have the authority. Eh alam mo ang Cabinet members are alter ego lang ng Presidente ‘yan. So kung may gawain ang Cabinet member, it is as if it is mine. So to make it legal, just a little fiat. Hindi na kailangan na mag-ano pa ako sa Congress. I will just make her the — a Cabinet member. Tapos, all drug cases and all things, matters in connection with drugs iyo na ‘yan hanggang katapusan ng term ko,” Duterte said in a media interview on Oct. 31.

The chief executive earlier threatened to fire Robredo as ICAD’s co-chair if she divulged confidential information on the government’s campaign against illegal drugs.

The vice president on Monday assured that no sensitive information will be disclosed.

Lacson: Robredo should justify need to divulge drug war findings

Robie de Guzman   •   November 26, 2019

Vice President Leni Robredo (L) and Senator Panfilo Lacson (R)

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson believes that Vice President Leni Robredo should justify the need to reveal her findings during her short stint as the co-chairperson of the inter-agency committee on anti-illegal drugs (ICAD).

“Kung gagawin ganoon lalong lalala, ang wedge lalapad. It’s her call. Kailangan justify niya rin,” Lacson told reporters at the Senate on Monday when asked for comment on Robredo’s statement.

“But sa akin I don’t think it’s still necessary. What for? Dahil binigyan ka ng katungkulan na gagampanan mo, ngayong natanggal ka, isisiwalat mo ang mga natuklasan mo?” he added.

The senator said if the information will help improve the government’s campaign against illegal drugs, then Robredo should reveal it “by all means.”

“Depende sa anong isisiwalat niya. If it is to destroy or impede ang anti-illegal drugs campaign, huwag naman sana,” he said.

“Pero kung natuklasan niya para ma-enhance ang fight against illegal drugs, then by all means,” he added.

Lacson also said that if Robredo plans to divulge mistakes that would make some people criminally liable then she should have done it while she was still holding the post.

“Pero kung may nakita siyang pagkakamali that would point to several persons that could be held criminally liable, dapat noong nasa position siya,” he said.

The vice president earlier vowed to remain determined to end the killings under the government’s war on drugs despite her termination as ICAD’s co-chairperson.

She also promised to report to the public some information about the drug war and her recommendations.

Over the weekend, Malacañang confirmed that President Rodrigo Duterte has fired Robredo in response to the opposition’s dare to remove her from post due to lack of trust.

Robredo after boot from drug war: ‘I am just getting started’

Robie de Guzman   •   November 25, 2019

A handout photo made available by the Office of the Vice President shows Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo delivering a statement regarding her removal as co-chair of the country’s Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs, in San Fernando, Camarines Sur province, Philippines 25 November 2019.

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo said she is just getting started after President Rodrigo Duterte booted her from the government’s anti-drug body more than two weeks after she accepted the appointment.

In a press conference in Naga, Camarines Sur, Robredo assured that her firing as co-chairperson of the inter-agency committee on anti-illegal drugs (ICAD) will not dampen her determination to end the killings under the government’s war on drugs.

“Kung sa tingin nila matatapos ito dito, hindi nila ako kilala. Nagsisimula pa lamang ako,” Robredo told reporters hours after Malacañang officials confirmed her removal from the position.

“Mahigit dalawang linggo pa lang mula nang tinanggap ko ang hamon na pamunuan ang kampanya laban sa iligal na droga. Mahigit dalawang linggo pa lang mula nang aking isinantabi ang napakaraming babala para pasanin ko ang trabahong halos imposible ay kailangan kong subukan para sa ating mga kababayan,” she added.

She continued with: “Hindi ako nagsayang ng oras, nakipag-pulong agada ko sa ICAD at sa iba’t ibang ahensiya. Kinonsulta natin ang iba’t ibang mga sektor. Pumunta tayo s amga komunidad. Nakipag-pulong tayo sa mga LGUs (local government units). Binisita natin ang mga rehab centers.”

“Pero nagsimula agad ang mga atake. Walang tigil ang pagbabatikos. Mahina raw ako sa krimen. Huwag daw akong makialam sa pulis. Hindi na raw ako mapagkakatiwalaan. Pinagtulung-tulungan at pinagkaisahan ako para hindi magtagumpay.”

It can be recalled that Duterte designated Robredo as ICAD’s co-chair on Oct. 31. She accepted the post on Nov. 6, saying her primary consideration in accepting the task was to promote a bloodless campaign against illegal drugs, as well as improve the program.

While she was the campaign’s co-lead, she met with agencies comprising the government’s anti-drug body, as well as officials from the United States government and the United Nations and other groups.

Several days later, Duterte expressed his distrust of Robredo over the supposed ‘missteps’ she took by talking to groups that are critical of his campaign.

On Nov. 24, Malacañang announced that Duterte has removed Robredo as ICAD’s co-chair.

“Kung pareho naman ang ating layunin, bakit hindi na lang tayo magtulungan? Hindi ba talaga sila seryoso sa laban? O may interes ba tayong nabangga?” she asked.

“Mr. President, hindi ko hiningi ang posisyong ito. Pero sineryoso ko ang trabahong ipinasa ninyo,” she added.

Robredo vowed that her termination from ICAD won’t silence her nor stop her determination in putting an end to senseless killings.

“Kahit tinanggalan ako ng posisyon, hinding-hindi nila kayang tanggalin ang aking determinasyon. Determinasyong itigil ang patayan, panagutin ang kailangang managot, at ipanalo ang kampanya laban sa iligal na droga,” she said.

“Sa mga susunod na araw magbibigay ako ng ulat sa bayan. Sasabihin ko ang aking natuklasan at ang aking mga rekomendasyon,” she further stated.

Malacañang earlier said the president fired Robredo in response to the suggestion of Liberal Party president, Senator Francis Pangilinan, to just fire the vice president from her post.

“This is also in response to the taunt and dare of VP Robredo for the president to just tell her that he wants her out,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Allan Manansala)

Malacañang: No need for EO on Robredo’s dismissal

Marje Pelayo   •   November 25, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – After 18 days in office as co-chairperson of the Interagency Committee on Anti-Drugs (ICAD) Vice President Leni Robredo was kicked out of the position by her appointing authority, President Rodrigo Duterte.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the President has given Robredo the opportunity to discuss her plans with him so that they could talk about the limits of her job in the agency.

“She never presented any program at all as you can see,” Panelo said.

“She never presented any program, and remember, it is VP Leni herself who asked the president to terminate her,” he added.

Instead of talking to the President directly, Robredo preferred to issue press statements and speak with foreign officials such as the United Nations and the United States which, according to Malacañang, was ‘grandstanding’ against her appointing power.

“Let me quote the President, the President said last night to me: ‘She was just grandstanding.’ She could’ve just come to Malacañang, everybody goes to Malacañang,” Panelo said in a separate interview.

Panelo said the vice president wasted the opportunity given to her.

“First day of appointment pa lang dapat (pumunta) ka na kay Presidente (she could have approached the President), knocked on the door of Malacañang,” the presidential spokesman said.

“Kung ang ordinaryong tao, nakakapasok sa Malacañang, ang bise presidente pa (If ordinary people can enter Malacañang, how much more the vice president)?” he added.

Meanwhile, Panelo said the Palace’s announcement of Robredo’s dismissal was enough and there was no need to issue an executive order on the matter.

Duterte appointed Robredo as drug czar on November 6.

The Palace has yet to announce if the President will appoint a new ICAD co-chairperson to replace Robredo. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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