Duterte on Robredo: She made an a**hole of herself

Christina Mendez, Emmanuel Tupas - The Philippine Star
Duterte on Robredo: She made an a**hole of herself
Duterte also said he was ready for any “revelation” that Robredo might have on his war on drugs after she served for 19 days as co-chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD).
Joven Cagande / File

MANILA, Philippines —  In her brief stint as anti-drug czar, Vice President Leni Robredo “made an a**hole of herself,” President Duterte said last night.

Duterte also said he was ready for any “revelation” that Robredo might have on his war on drugs after she served for 19 days as co-chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD).

He reiterated his displeasure that among Robredo’s first moves as ICAD chair was to meet with representatives of foreign organizations including the United Nations and the US embassy.

There was no immediate comment from Robredo’s camp on Duterte’s latest tirade, in which he also claimed she had met with the European Union and invited a human rights prosecutor.

Duterte had previously apologized to Robredo for his claim about the prosecutor after it turned out that a member of Human Rights Watch rather than a UN prosecutor had volunteered in a tweet to go to Manila and help Robredo. She denied inviting the rights advocate.

As ICAD co-chair, she had met with representatives of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and the US Drug Enforcement Agency to discuss best practices in fighting the drug menace.

The US DEA has a long-running program of cooperating with Philippine law enforcement agencies in fighting illegal drugs.

“She made an a**hole of herself,” Duterte said last night in assessing Robredo’s stint as ICAD co-chair.

In a press conference earlier at Malacañang, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo clarified that Robredo was fired for “missteps” that were beyond the purview of the Philippine National Police (PNP). 

Panelo slammed critics who used a statement of PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac against the Palace spokesman. Banac had said Robredo committed no “missteps” as far as law enforcement was concerned, but stressed that he could not speak for political matters.

“He said on a higher level… The missteps I was talking about were on a higher level… So it’s not on his level,” Panelo said in a mix of Filipino and English at a press briefing.

Panelo maintained that Robredo earned the President’s ire for seeking advice from certain foreign institutions and personalities who have “prejudged” the administration’s war against drugs.

“Like when she talked with foreign nationals or institutions, for the President, that’s a misstep, why did you talk to them since they have judged that the drug war is wrong… In short, the PNP is being pitted against the administration,” Panelo said.

He also took a swipe at Robredo for launching tirades against the administration after her sacking as co-chairperson of ICAD.

“Her tirades and threats following her unceremonious but deserved firing is unsurprising. There is no greater fury than a woman scorned. There is a Spanish word that aptly describes her fall from grace: merece (deserving),” Panelo said in a statement from Busan, South Korea where he joined the President for the 30th ASEAN-Republic of Korea commemorative summit.

Panelo said Robredo squandered her chances of helping in the drug campaign.

“In the tunnel of darkness where she strayed aimlessly after a 100 percent rejection of her endorsed ‘otso diretso,’ she was given a lamp by PRRD to illuminate her way, but she carelessly broke it and she is back to where she was, groping with a blind vision,” Panelo said.

Panelo also twitted Robredo’s approval ratings, a trait that he said speaks for itself. Duterte polled a 78 percent approval rating, slightly lower than previous, according to results of the latest Social Weather Stations survey last September.

“In contrast, the rambunctious critic has consistently rated very low in the surveys. Res ipsa loquitor (The thing speaks for itself),” Panelo said.

No classified information

Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) chairman Catalino Cuy, meanwhile, is wondering what revelations Robredo has regarding what she has learned about the government’s war on drugs during her stint at ICAD.

“None. I don’t even know what she’s saying,” he said in a chance interview.

A day after she was fired from ICAD, Robredo said she would reveal to the public her findings about the drug war during her 19-day stint.

Cuy said the briefings they held for Robredo dealt with programs under the Philippine Anti-Illegal Drugs Strategy (PADS) which have been already brought out in public.

“We showed her PADS, there is nothing secret about that,” he said.

The PNP, meanwhile, refused to release figures on the number of drug suspects killed and arrested when Robredo was ICAD co-chair from Nov. 6 to 24.

The PNP, in response to a request for statistics, instead released data from the RealNumbersPH as of Aug. 31 which stated that 5,779 suspected drug pushers and users were killed in alleged shootouts with lawmen since Duterte took office in July 2016.

The PNP did not provide an explanation for its refusal to release drug war figures during Robredo’s tenure at ICAD.

‘Shock and awe’

The “shock and awe” approach during the early stages of President Duterte’s crackdown on illegal drugs, which resulted in thousands of deaths, was necessary as it made an immediate impact on the campaign by instilling fear in the drug suspects, the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) said.

“(Sen. Bato dela Rosa) was the first to implement shock and awe. Maybe that approach was really needed that time,” Brig. Gen. Debold Sinas said in an interview with “The Chiefs” on Cignal TV’s One News.

Sinas said Dela Rosa’s approach worked as a deterrent, forcing drug suspects, especially users, to abruptly stop their ways.

At least 4,000 suspected drug users and pushers were killed in alleged shootouts with lawmen before Dela Rosa retired from the service.

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