Duterte serious in offer for VP to lead drug campaign- Palace

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DAVAO CITY — The offer for President Rodrigo Duterte to Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo to lead the Administration’s campaign against illegal drugs is serious.

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Salvador S. Panelo in a press briefing said that this is also an opportune time for the Vice President to prove her mettle when it comes to governance.

The offer to Robredo was made after the Vice President criticized the drug war as a total failure.

“The offer is precisely for the Vice President to be the Drug Czar because as the President says parang magaling ka ata eh di ibibigay ko sa’yo para makita naman natin kung may magagawa kang paraan,” Panelo said.

“That’s a challenge to her and I think she should take the opportunity. After all, when we launched the drug war by the President, she was a member of the cabinet and she was in full accord and in full support of the same,” he added.

For the Palace official, whether or not the Chief Executive said the offer in jest, the challenge for the Vice President to step up still stands.

“Well kahit pa that was a reaction from the President whether it was out of peeve or serious matter, the fact is there is an offer and you can consider it as a challenge because she said that the drug war is a failure, but she backtracked,” Panelo explained.

“The ball is in her court. If I were in her place, I would accept, because this is a rare opportunity for a critic who would be given an opportunity to show her mettle and at the same time helping the government,” he added.

As of this writing, the Vice President has not responded to the offer yet. Panelo, meanwhile, believes that Robredo should accept the challenge.

“If she declines, it only shows it is not true that this war on drugs is a failure and that there should be other measures to be taken to stop it,” he added.

Panelo likewise addressed that the offer of the Chief Executive falls under the ambit of his power, and in no way unconstitutional.

“He is a Chief Executive and enforcer of the law. He can create Task Forces and appoint people to run it,” Panelo said.

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