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Duterte officially designates Robredo as drug body co-chair

November 05, 2019 - Tuesday 6:11 PM by Jon Joaquin

Article Banner Image IT’S OFFICIAL. President Rodrigo Duterte, seen here arriving at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City on November 4, 2019 after attending the 35th Summit in Thailand, has officially designated Vice President Leni Robredo as Co-Chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD). KARL NORMAN ALONZO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Malacañang on Tuesday released the memorandum signed by President Rodrigo Duterte designating Vice President Leni Robredo as Co-Chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD).

The memorandum, signed on October 31, 2019, states that Robredo will lead the government’s efforts against illegal drugs until June 30, 2022 — the end of both Duterte’s and Robredo’s respective terms.

The memorandum also directs the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Philippine National Police (PNP), the Dangerous Drugs Board, and all other law enforcement agencies to extend their full assistance and cooperation with Robredo “to ensure the success of the Government’s efforts in the war against illegal drugs.”

TOGETHER AGAIN? File photo shows President Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo after the military parade in Camp Aguinaldo on July 1, 2016. Robredo could possibly rejoin the Cabinet if she accepts Duterte’s offer to co-chair the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD). TED ALJIBE / AF

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said the memorandum was released in response to the opposition’s “demand” that the power granted to Robredo “be granted through an official correspondence, and not just through a verbal or electronic communication.”

“The President has acceded to such demand,” Panelo said.

He also said Robredo’s designation shows that Duterte’s offer to the vice president was not “a ruse manufactured by this Administration to discredit the latter.”

“With this development, the Palace supposes that detractors and critics will finally see the sincerity of the President in making such offer to the Vice President and understand that the Chief Executive's ultimate motivation in making the same is the welfare of the Filipino people, with the hope that the government be successful in combating the atrocity caused by the use and trade of illegal narcotics, regardless of who greatly contributed to such success,” he said.

WALK WITH ME. President Rodrigo Duterte shares a light moment with Senator Christopher "Bong" Go upon his arrival at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City on November 4, 2019 following his successful participation in the 35th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Summits in the Kingdom of Thailand. ROBINSON NIÑAL JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Panelo said Duterte had heeded two other demands by the opposition.

“First, these people have demanded that VP Leni be given the post with drug enforcement agencies and offices, such as the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, the Philippine National Police and the Dangerous Drugs Board, under her authority, and the President has directed these instrumentalities to render full assistance and cooperation to her through this official document,” he said.

“Second, they have demanded that she be authorized to become the drug czar until the end of PRRD's (Duterte) term, and the same paper designates her with the highest position possible to battle the proliferation of dangerous drugs until June 30, 2022,” he said.