Robredo fired for her lack of programs and vision for the ICAD

Sunday November 24, 2019 ()

President Rodrigo Duterte has fired Leonor Robredo as co-chairman of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo told The Manila Times on Sunday.

Duterte fires Robredo

According to Panelo, President Duterte's main reason for sacking Robredo barely three weeks after accepting her post as the country's anti-drug czar was her lack of programs and vision for the agency.

Panelo said Robredo's sacking was "in response" to the suggestion of Liberal Party president Sen. Francis Pangilinan to fire the vice president from her post:

"The President's designation of Robredo was not like any offer to perform a certain task. It was an offer to make the campaign against illegal drugs better — a chance where both this administration and the political opposition could have unified in fighting the social ill that has destroyed the lives of many. Unfortunately, she wasted such opportunity and used the same as a platform to attack the methods undertaken by this administration."

Panelo said if Robredo was really serious in addressing the cause of the drug problem, she should have gone down to the grassroots and talked to the victims, to their families, and to the communities. Panelo said in a statement:

"Instead, she opted to have audience with the United Nations and the United States Embassy officials, who remain out of touch from the realities of the local drug problem on the ground."

"The President gave the vice president ample authority and powers to direct all responsible government instrumentalities to act in accordance with the strategic objectives that she might have had in mind, in line with putting an end to the drug menace in our country. However, the Vice President resorted to unduly baiting international attention, particularly from persons or entities that know little or none at all about our situation, other than their own bias or unsubstantiated prejudgment."

He said that the vice president embarrassed the country.

"The President has been more than patient enough, giving the vice president adequate opportunity to discuss possible courses of action with him. More than two weeks have passed since the vice president accepted her designation as ICAD [co-chairman]. But she has not presented any new program that she envisioned to implement. In a campaign where people's lives are at risk, a day is an eternity. The government can not twiddle its thumb and sit idly hoping for a flash of brilliance from the vice president."

The President also noticed that the vice president was more focused on gaining the attention of the media instead of creating programs for her agency, he added.

The vice president's pronouncements that she will meet with the officials of the United States and the United Nations (UN) to discuss the government's campaign against illegal drugs also irked the Chief Executive.

Robredo also repeatedly asked the President of the scope of her authority, which was already stated in her appointment papers. Panelo said if the vice president wanted clarifications on her post, she should have sought audience with the President and not air her sentiments to the media.

Panelo added that the vice president herself dared Duterte to fire her after the latter said the ICAD post is not a Cabinet rank position. The President had said Robredo would not be given access to confidential information because he does not trust her.

On Saturday, the President admitted that he was not satisfied with Robredo's performance. In an interview in Davao City, the President said:

"Insofar as what she is doing now, that is not very clear to me. Nakukulangan ako sa ability niya (I am not satisfied with her ability),"

"Ako, hindi pa siya nag-ta-trabaho talaga nang husto (For me, she has yet to give her best as she is really not doing her job well). I have yet to see the vice president working as an ICAD co-chair."

On Sunday, Robredo said in her weekly radio show, would continue to do her job as ICAD co-chairman until the President fires her.

"Siya (President) ‘yung nag-appoint sa akin, siya din ‘yung may kapangyarihan na tanggalin ako. Ako s'yempre pag tinanggal ako, wala akong magagawa, pero hindi ako mag-re-resign (He was the one who appointed me, he also has the power to dismiss me. If he removed me from the post, I cannot do anything about it, but I will not resign)."

Robredo issued the statement after Panelo advised her to leave her post if she was not comfortable or "cannot stand the heat in the kitchen". She said:

"Ngayon pa na andami kong nakita na kailangan ko pang gawin, ngayon pa, na tingin ko, marami akong maitutulong. Kaya habang hindi pa ako tinatanggal, gagawin ko 'yung trabaho ko (I have seen that I have a lot more to do, I believe I can help more. So, as long as I have not been dismissed, I will do my job)."

Meanwhile, Panelo belied reports that the President apologized to Robredo for believing reports that she had invited a UN investigator to probe the administration's war on drugs.

Robredo had denied inviting a UN investigator to visit the Philippines and investigate the drug war. She clarified that she only met with the officials of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and the United States Embassy in Manila to discuss the campaign against illegal drugs.

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