leni robredo
Vice-President Leni Robredo (R) attends a press conference with Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chief Aaron Aquino in Manila on Nov. 8, 2019.
AFP/Maria Tan

Palace to VP Robredo, PNoy: Trust is earned

(Philstar.com) - November 21, 2019 - 5:25pm

MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo must earn President Rodrigo Duterte’s trust, Malacañang told her and former President Benigno Aquino III, who questioned his successor’s decision to appoint Robredo as the country’s anti-drug czar despite his lack of confidence on her.

Robredo early this month accepted Duterte’s offer to co-lead his controversial war on drugs. She was appointed co-chairperson of the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-illegal Drugs, or ICAD.

But on Tuesday, Duterte told reporters that Robredo cannot have access to confidential “drug war” data because he doesn’t trust her — a statement that confused the vice president and Aquino, who are both members of the opposition.

“Ms. Robredo must, however, understand that one's election to the vice presidency does not automatically clothe the occupant with trustworthiness. Trust is earned,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement.

“As for former President Aquino, he is better off focusing on his case pending before the Sandiganbayan, as well as taking care of his health, than touching on a matter related to the dreaded drug menace that he never gave the attention and importance it deserves during his six-year presidency,” he added.

Local Government Undersecretary Ricojudge Echiverri earlier said that agencies are apprehensive about sharing information with Robredo because she is a member of the opposition.

Robredo on Sunday addressed apprehensions from agencies about sharing sensitive information with her, saying she knows she needs to keep them confidential. But she said it is up to the member-agencies of the ICAD if they want to cooperate and that she would not force them to do so.

Duterte has warned Robredo she could lose her post at the inter-agency panel if she leaks sensitive information.

Police say more than 7,000 who resisted arrest have been killed since Duterte launched his deadly narcotics crackdown — a far cry from rights groups' estimate that pegs drug-related fatalities at 27,000. — Ian Nicolas Cigaral

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