Duterte names Robredo co-chair of inter-agency anti-drugs body

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte designated Vice President Leni Robredo as co-chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD),  Malacañang said on Tuesday, November 5. 

Robredo’s designation was signed on October 31, according to a copy of the Memorandum from the President which stated the designation.

The Vice President’s new role is for her to “lead the Government’s efforts against illegal drugs until 30 June 2022, unless sooner revoked,” reads the memorandum.

In this letter signed by Duterte, Robredo’s designation can be revoked before June 30, 2022. pic.twitter.com/ApHONYUhNo — Pia Ranada (@piaranada) November 5, 2019

Duterte directed the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Philippine National Police, Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), and other law enforcement agencies to “extend their full assistance and cooperation to the Vice President to ensure the success of this Government’s efforts in the war against illegal drugs.” 

"As ICAD co-chair, the VP will have a pro-active role in the government's war against illegal drugs," Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea told Rappler.

"She will have a hand in crafting the policies and programs of the government, and at the same time ensure the proper implementation of anti-illegal drug operations and advocacy initiatives," he added.

What’s ICAD? The ICAD was created by Duterte through Executive Order No. 15 and is composed of various 21 member agencies. 

Among its functions is to “ensure the effective conduct of all anti-illegal drug operations and arrest of high-value drug personalities” including “street-level peddlers and users.”

It’s also supposed to ensure the implementaion of the Barangay Drug-Clearing Program and National Anti-Drug Plan of Action 2015-2020.

But it also targets government corruption in relation to illegal drugs. The ICAD is tasked with “cleansing the bureaucracy” of government personnel involved in illegal drugs. 

The PDEA chairs the ICAD. The PDEA is currently led by Director-General Aaron Aquino who earlier said the anti-drug campaign would “fail” if Robredo was at its helm.

With Duterte’s designation of Robredo, Aquino will now have to work with the Vice President.

Duterte had previously promised to make Robredo a Cabinet member. Nowhere in his memorandum is this mentioned. But Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo told reporters that the position offered is a Cabinet post.

Aquino, as PDEA director-general, only has the rank of undersecretary

Duterte originally offered that Robredo serve in the "drug czar" post for only 6 months. This was after the Vice President said in an interview that the administration's campaign is not effective.

But critics of the President said the 6-month deadline was not fair since Duterte himself admitted he needed until the end of his term to solve the drug problem. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

image