Duterte: Robredo's anti-illegal drugs czar appointment not Cabinet rank
President Rodrigo Duterte said that Vice President Leni Robredo's appointment as the government's anti-illegal drugs czar was not a Cabinet post.
This was a departure from his earlier statement when he first offered the position to the vice president.
In an interview with reporters in Davao City on November 1, Duterte said, "I will just make her (Robredo) a Cabinet member. Then all the drug cases and all things, matters in connection with drugs, that's all yours until the end of my term."
Robredo accepted Duterte's offer to be the anti-illegal drugs czar with a Cabinet rank on November 6.
But in an interview with GMA-7 aired on Monday, Duterte said, "She (Robredo) is not a member of the Cabinet. I have not appointed her as a Cabinet member."
He explained that he did not sign an appointment paper giving Robredo a Cabinet post.
The President expressed concern that Robredo, who is from the opposition, might disclose to others what could be discussed in the Cabinet meeting.
In a separate text message to reporters, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that Robredo, who was appointed as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs with Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Director General Aaron Aquino, was not a member of the Cabinet.
"The post she was appointed to is not a Cabinet level. The discretion to appoint her as a member of the Cabinet, in addition to her appointment as the anti-illegal drug czar lies with the President," he said.
In a statement on October 31, Panelo reiterated Duterte's offer to Robredo to lead the government's war on illegal drugs with a Cabinet rank.
"To dispel all doubts on the sincerity of the Chief Executive’s offer, as well as to put a halt to the discordant pessimism of the opposition, the President renews his offer to the Vice President to become the anti-illegal drugs czar, with all offices, bureaus, agencies or government instrumentalities involved in the enforcement of the law on prohibited drugs placed under her command and supervision with a cabinet secretary portfolio, to ensure her effectiveness in combatting the drug menace," he has said. Celerina Monte/DMS