Palace berates Robredo for "demonizing" war on drugs
Malacanang slammed on Thursday Vice President Leni Robredo when she again "demonized" President Rodrigo Duterte and his administration's war against illegal drugs.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo issued the statement after Robredo branded as a failure the government's bloody campaign against narcotics.
"The Palace is not surprised at all by the recent commentary of Vice President Ma. Leonor Robredo when she again demonized the President and this Administration's campaign against illegal drugs by referring to the same as a 'failed drug war'," he said in a statement.
He said Robredo's latest remarks were "unquestionably bereft of factual basis and and devoid of recognition of the successes that the war on illegal drugs has reaped."
"She may not realize it but she is echoing the lies and black propaganda of some of her colleagues in the political opposition, which to say the least is unfortunate, especially since she was part of the Cabinet when the government’s program against the drug menace was launched," he added.
Robredo, in an interview by Reuters, noted that despite Duterte's "very serious threats" to drug syndicates and drug lords, "yet it's still very prevalent."
"So, obviously, it's not working," the Vice President said.
But Panelo said the mere fact the drug cartel has not been totally destroyed does not mean the fight against it has failed.
"It only means that the extent and magnitude of the drug problem, which is the result of neglect and failure by past administrations to arrest or curb it, is monstrously enormous hence the Administration has not wavered in the vigorous battle it has waged against it," Panelo said.
He cited that during the past three years, the over a million drug personalities have voluntarily surrendered, while close to half a million underwent recovery, rehabilitation and wellness programs.
Panelo also noted that more than 42,000 barangays have been cleared of drugs and over P35 billion of drugs, chemicals and laboratory equipment have been seized and dismantled.
He also cited a survey showing 8 out of 10 Filipinos or 82 percent have expressed satisfaction with the government's anti-illegal drug campaign.
"The Office of the President therefore suggests to our former colleague in the Cabinet to detach herself from the critics and detractors of the war on drugs whose false narratives against it have been repudiated by a majority of Filipinos. We can only hope that VP Robredo do more active consultation with her Filipino constituencies instead of totally relying on the insights given by her advisers whose ideas contradict the realities on the ground. She is better off without them. She should rely more on her motherly instincts and gut-feel as a lawyer," said Panelo, also chief presidential legal counsel.
"This is not to say that we are intolerant of criticisms coming from her. This Administration takes no offense from those who are critical of its policies, and welcomes constructive criticisms but the same however should be based on facts and the law. Otherwise, they become a disinformation campaign and an abuse of the freedom of speech and of expression, and unproductive to the mature evolution of a democratic society and a hindrance to its progress," he added. Celerina Monte/DMS