President Rodrigo Duterte dared Vice President Leni Robredo on Monday to head the administration’s anti-illegal drug campaign for six months rather than criticizing it. 

“I said if she wants, I can commission her to be the drug czar. She has many complaints out there. She said you have to redirect your… or whatever,” Duterte told reporters after the oath-taking ceremony of the newly appointed government officials in Malacañang. 

Then, the President said he would transfer the authority to Robredo if she can do better than he can. 

“I’ll give you six months. Let’s see if you can handle it,” he added. 

Additionally, he mentioned sending a letter to the Vice President through Executive Secretary Salvador Madialdea. 

“Let’s see what will happen. I will not interfere. You want it? You’re more bright? Then try it,” he said.

Robredo’s interview with Reuters

Vice President Leni Robredo during her interview with Reuters in Quezon City on October 23, 2019 (Image source: news.abs-cbn)

On Wednesday, Robredo had an interview with Reuters, remarking that Duterte should have let the United Nations investigate his war on drugs that killed the lives of over 6,000. 

“The President has already made very serious threats to drug syndicates, to drug lords… and yet it’s still very prevalent, so obviously it’s not working,” said Robredo.

“We have seen a lot of police [who] have abused their powers and not been penalized so this is where the International Criminal Court (ICC) could come in, if we do not show the world that we can take care of our own mess,” she added. 

Moreover, Robredo also lamented the increasing number of people murdered because of the drug war, saying that most of them are underprivileged. 

These remarks of the Vice President may have caused Duterte’s anger, leading him to challenge her to serve as the head on the campaign. 

On another note, the ICC has started investigating on the reported extrajudicial killings, but Duterte, in response, pulled the Philippines out from the Rome Statute, which is the international treaty that support the ICC.

Moreover, the United Nations Human Rights Council has signed the resolution to probe the killings, which also angered Duterte and caused him to order a stop the country’s negotiations with the nations that voted for the resolution.


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