Palace to Robredo, Aquino: Trust is earned
Vice President Leni Robredo should not be bothered if President Rodrigo Duterte does not trust her despite being appointed as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs ( ICAD), Malacañang said on Thursday.
This as the Palace also hit former President Benigno Aquino III who questioned Duterte's appointment of Robredo if the President does not trust her.
"Since she (Robredo) will not be given access to privileged communication, she should not be bothered by the expressed lack of trust by the appointing power with respect to the confidentiality of state matters requiring secrecy. After all, she is tasked to help end the illegal drug trade in the country and not to get secret information of the government to share the same with her foreign and local peers," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
He also said trust is earned.
"Ms. Robredo must, however, understand that one's election to the Vice Presidency does not automatically clothe the occupant with trustworthiness. Trust is earned. The missteps of the VP did not inspire confidence in the matter of keeping to oneself classified information," said Panelo, also chief presidential legal counsel.
"Her job in leading the agencies involved in the anti-illegal drug campaign requires competence and creativity. Trust comes into play only as regards the non-transmission of state secrets that imperils the safety of the Filipino people and the sovereignty of the country," he said.
Panelo earlier said Robredo committed "missteps" shortly after her appointment as anti-illegal drug czar.
Such missteps include her talking to the United Nations and other groups and individuals critical of the administration's war on drugs, and her demand for the list of high value target drug suspects and other confidential information related to the drug war.
Robredo, however, has said she just wanted to get the whole picture and extent of the problem. The vice president has been critical of the war on drugs due to the thousands of drug suspects killed in the operation.
Duterte has admitted that he decided not to give Robredo a Cabinet rank, contrary to his earlier offer to her, due to what Panelo claimed as the vice president's missteps.
Aquino, in an interview with reporters on Wednesday, wondered why Duterte would appoint Robredo to a government post if he does not trust her.
Panelo said the former president should better focus on "his case pending before the Sandiganbayan, as well as taking care of his health, than touching on a matter related to the dreaded drug menace that he never gave the attention and importance it deserves during his six-year Presidency."
Aquino has admitted contracting pneumonia recently.
"Lest we forget, the drug problem ballooned in magnitude in his time, obviously due to his neglect in countering this evil that is putting this country into the precipice of a generational destruction," Panelo said.
Panelo claimed the Philippines was plagued in the past with "petty, divisive and parochial politicians."
"Fortunately, change has arrived with PRRD having the interest of the Filipino people foremost in his mind as we battle against the dreaded and destructive evil that is destroying the basic fabric of society," he said.
"What is clear therefore is that PRRD has transcended politics and trust issues that long divided the nation. It is a rarity to find a leader to give the head of the opposition party a golden opportunity to oversee the campaign against illegal drugs amid the surpassing accomplishments his administration already achieved relative thereto," Panelo added. Celerina Monte/DMS