Palace says Duterte's offer to Robredo to be drug czar "sincere gesture"
President Rodrigo Duterte's offer to Vice President Leni Robredo to be the drug czar was his "sincere gesture," Malacañang said on Wednesday.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo also said that Duterte's offer to Robredo did not mean that the war on drugs is a failure.
"The offer is a sincere gesture on the part of PRRD ( President Rodrigo Roa Duterte) for VP Leni to provide her the venue to undertake a new tact in solving the drug menace, if in her mind the present method of dealing with the scourge of prohibited drugs is a failure or ineffective. She may have a better solution," he said.
"This is an enticing opportunity to show her mettle as a public servant in destroying the drug apparatus, as well as helping the people freed from this fatal threat to society. Entertaining the offer as insulting is an exercise in intellect devoid of logic," Panelo said.
Robredo has felt offended when Panelo earlier said he sent the vice president a text message asking her if she was accepting Duterte's offer.
She has denied receiving any text message. Robredo has also said if the Palace did not respect her as a person by just communicating such offer through a text message, it should at least respect her position.
"The offer of the President should be welcomed by any true civil worker and deemed to be an opportunity to serve the people and show one’s aptitude and capability as a public servant in the service of the people," Panelo said.
"In relation thereto, VP Leni should not be offended by the text message of this representation, giving her a heads up or an advance information for her to ponder. Such must be considered as a gesture of a friend to another given our history of sharing cellular texts with each other. In all honesty, I even thought that I was giving her a favor to which I anticipated an appreciative reply," he added.
Panelo, who is also the chief presidential legal counsel, again cited the administration's "feats" relative to its campaign against illegal narcotics, such as more than 42,000 barangays cleared of drugs and more than 35 billion of pesos of drugs, chemicals and laboratory equipment seized and dismantled, among others.
"If these numbers leave the Vice President unsatisfied with gains this Administration had in dismantling the illegal drug trade, then perhaps she has a better solution in addressing the social ill and should consider accepting the President’s offer," he said.
Robredo has urged the administration to reassess its war on drugs, citing that many people have already been killed and yet the number of drug users has been increasing. Celerina Monte/DMS