Veteran opposition Rep. Edcel Lagman warned yesterday Vice President Leni Robredo against accepting a key position in the government’s war against illegal drugs, saying that she is being “set up to fail.”
However, Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers, chairman of the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs, said Robredo should accept position of co-chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) which was offered by President Rodrigo Duterte.
“We hope she could suggest new programs of action that would help government win the war against illegal drugs,” said Barbers.
Anakalusugan Rep. Michael Defensor, shared Barber’s view.
Defensor, chairman of the House Committee on Public Accounts, said that as ICAD co-chairperson, Robredo will “have a full perspective of the drug situation and can assert her position as regards the drug campaign and how it should be executed.”
“She will now be working with the intelligence and enforcement agencies rather than observing it from the outside and not having a full grasp of the situation. I wish her, the President and all the agencies involved well and pray that we confront the drug situation with full resolve with one voice and as one team,” the senior administration lawmaker said.
But Lagman pointed out that what Duterte gave Robredo “is vastly different” from an anti-drug czar that the chief executive publicly offered her.
Duterte vowed to give the anti-drug czar role to Robredo after the latter criticized the violence that marked the government’s war against illegal drugs.
“The diluted position validates the fear that the Vice President is being set up to fail,’ said Lagman, a Liberal Party colleague of Robredo.
Lagman said Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chief Aaron Aquino, who will co-chair ICAD, had “ominously predicted that Robredo would fail.”
“The Vice President is being thrown into a composite of an inter-agency committee with no less than 20 agencies as members pursuant to Executive Order No. 15 which created the ICAD on March 6, 2017,” the opposition solon pointed out.
He added: “As Co-Chair of ICAD, the Vice President, before she could act, will have to contend with the Chair and the multiple membership of ICAD.” (Ben Rosario)