Robredo tells Duterte: Want me out? Just say it

Patricia Lourdes Viray - Philstar.com
Robredo tells Duterte: Want me out? Just say it
Vice President Leni Robredo answers questions from members of the media after her meeting with the Dangerous Drugs Board.
The STAR / Boy Santos

MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo advised President Rodrigo Duterte to tell her directly if he wants her out of the government's campaign against illegal drugs.

Robredo accepted her designation as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs or ICAD after Duterte challenged her to solve the drug problem in the country.

On Tuesday night, Duterte told reporters that he does not trust the vice president and would limit her access to confidential matters to a "need to know basis."

"He (Duterte) should just tell me directly. If he does not want me here, in the first place, why did he appoint me?" Robredo said in mixed Filipino and English.

Despite the president's latest tirades against her, the vice president said it is still worth it to retain her position in the ICAD as she believes that she could contribute to the anti-narcotics campaign.

"If he does not want it anymore, if he made a mistake in appointing me and wants to take it back, just say it," Robredo said, adding that she would still do her job.

Robredo also pointed out that Duterte should clarify the limits of her mandate as the new anti-drug czar.

According to the vice president, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Director General Aaron Aquino had written to Duterte asking for clarification of Robredo's mandate. The president's response, however, was that Robredo would determine her mandate.

Robredo had sent a letter to Duterte last Tuesday, stressing that the president should determine her tasks as he is the appointing officer.

"Because my appointment into the ICAD was very general, as co-chair, I am doing whatever the expectations are in an ICAD co-chair," Robredo said.

Asked if the president's latest remarks would affect her job in the ICAD, Robredo said a majority of the agencies involved in the campaign were "reenergized" since she assumed her new role.

Robredo commended majority of the agencies that have been cooperative with her, including the Dangerous Drugs Board.

"For me, I will do my mandate in the ICAD to synergize the task of the agencies, to harmonize their jobs. And my experience now shows that most of them are very supportive, very cooperative," she said.

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