Challenge accepted: Robredo takes on role in 'drug war'
Patricia Lourdes Viray ( - November 6, 2019 - 2:03pm

MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo has accepted the offer of President Rodrigo Duterte to take a role in the government's campaign against illegal drugs.

A Malacañang memorandum dated October 31 designated Robredo as co-chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) until June 2022.

In a televised speech, Robredo said she accepts the designation to the ICAD to stop the killings of innocent people and to make sure that abusive officials, such as "ninja cops", will be held liable.

"Kahit sabihin natin na ang alok na ito ay pamumulitika lamang at hindi naman talaga ako susundin ng mga ahensya at gagawin nila ang lahat para hindi ako magtagumpay handa akong tiisin ang lahat ng ito," Robredo said.

(Even if we say that the offer is a politicized move and the agencies will not follow me and that they will do everything to make sure I fail, I will endure all of this.)

'Even just one innocent life'

The vice president admitted that many people had advised her not to accept the job as it might just be a trap to humiliate her.

"Dahil kung meron akong maililigtas na kahit isang inosenteng buhay ang sinasabi ng prinsipyo at puso ko ay kailangan ko itong subukan," she said.

(Because if I can save just one innocent life, my principle and my heart are telling me that I should try.)

Robredo stressed that Duterte knows she is against the drug war. She warned the president that she will not stop expressing her opposition against the campaign even if she takes the ICAD post.

"Simula pa lang handa tayong tumulong sa ikabubuti ng bayan pero kailanman hindi natin isusuko ang ating mga paniniwala. Hindi laru-laro ang usapang ito. Seryosong usapan 'pag buhay ang nakataya," Robredo said.

(From the start, we have been ready to help for the sake of the nation but I will never give up my principles. This is not a game. This is is a serious issue because lives are at stake.)

'Are you ready for me?'

Upon ending her speech, Robredo told Duterte that it is not yet to late for them to work together in addressing the country's drug problem as they still have two and a half years left on their term.

"Tinatanong nila ako king handa ba ako para sa trabahong ito. Ang tanong ko — handa ba kayo sa akin?" she said.

(They have been asking me if I am ready for this job. My question is this — are you ready for me?)

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