For former senator and now academic, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, Duterte’s offer is just a “distraction”— it aims to shift attention from the president’s policy and enforcement failures and put the spotlight on the very one who noticed that the program is failing–Robredo.
Atty. Barry Gutierrez meanwhile, reacted on the “legality side” of the issue, describing the offer as “nothing” and “no probative value” because that committee does not exist. Hence, obvious that the government is setting up the Vice President to “fail”.
Gutierrez did not do his homework— there is an Executive Order no. 15, series 2017 which created the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs or ICAD.
What Gutierrez probably meant is that there is no vice-chair post stated in the said order, which is really nothing to be concerned about, because by signing the appointment of Robredo, Duterte effectively exercised his power as President which is the power to create offices of government. Basically, what Duterte did is he created an office specifically for Robredo.
Contrary to Gutierrez’ flawed logic, Duterte does not really need to specify the powers and functions of the post being offered to the vice president because EO 15 is quite specific and clear of its mandate, functions, and powers.
Duterte does not need to specify what Robredo will do– all Robredo needs to do is implement Section 2 of the Executive Order. ICAD has seven functions:
- ensure the effective conduct of anti-illegal drugs campaigns and arrest of high drug personalities;
- spearhead and coordinate the implementation of the National Anti-Drugs Plan of Action;
- ensure the comprehensive implementation of the barangay clearing program;
- ensure effective conduct of advocacy campaign initiatives;
- coordination functions between ICAD and other agencies involved;
- cleanse the bureaucracy of unscrupulous personnel linked with drugs; and
- ensure that the anti-drugs objectives of government is implemented.
The problem which Robredo’s spokesperson saw as “serious” is the fact that the committee is being headed right now by the chairman of the PDEA, Aaron Aquino, who holds an undersecretary rank.
That’s the problem with the Liberals– they are concerned with ranks and titles, and not on the job or what the work entails. So what if VP Leni will be working with an undersecretary? The more important thing is, the VP will be able to prove to all that what she was saying and commenting negatively all along on the government’s anti-drugs campaign were no blusters; that with Robredo there, the stated mandate of the ICAD would be effectively realized.
Looking at the functions, Aquino is right— for these functions to be effected, one must have law enforcement experience, something which Robredo essentially lacks from. The thing is, these functions are, by themselves, policies which had been implemented for the past three years already–both with successes as well as disastrous consequences.
This is where retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio may have a point though. The minute Robredo accepts the job, she will have no choice but implement these stated policies which, to his mind, had already failed. ” The president himself admitted these failures,” says Carpio in an interview with the Chiefs over at One Channel last night.
Worse, the minute oppositionist groups file a case against Duterte, the possibility of her name being included in the charge sheet exists because she becomes the vice chairman of a committee which Duterte mandated as the main implementing arm of the government.
What Currentph thinks
More than anything else, this entire issue is more of a political move rather than an honest-to-goodness, think-thru decision. It began as a knee-jerk reaction which the administration realized as a good strategy to protect and defend their position by throwing the responsibility to the one who has been negatively commenting on the campaign.
Duterte’s dare aims to strengthen public perception of the opposition as “more bark than bite”— a comment which eroded public trust behind the liberals and led to their disastrous showing at the polls. Duterte knows the public’s pulse. This is a generation of skeptics— people are not concerned about talk, they are more concerned if the one talking also does the walking.
That is precisely what people are commenting against Robredo– she typifies the average Liberal who balks and balks just to generate public awareness, but is insincere when it comes to proffering solutions.
Duterte’s offer should be seen as an opportunity rather than a ruse. First, the offer would give Robredo the opportunity to get a closer look at what government is currently doing, identify the flaws, and correct them. Looking closely at the functions of ICAD, it is complete by itself, so there is simply no room for its modifications.
What it really lacks from is effective implementation. This is where it gets interesting.
By accepting the offer, Robredo may be able to turn things around for the Liberals and its allies. As vice chair and with a closer coordination with Aquino, Robredo may be able to identify issues in the operational apparatus and correct them. Robredo has the available media platform to communicate what ails the campaign and possible solutions.
The fact is– Robredo may even be of help to her political allies, the Magdalos of Senator Trillanes IV by deputizing them into the anti-drugs campaign. The Magdalos may serve as anti-drugs advocates and deputize its various networks to dismantle the grassroots drugs machineries.
Other political forces, especially those from the Left, may likewise profit from this, by joining Robredo in this fight. The Communist Party may deploy its units against these drug lords and exterminate them. This will greatly improve the public stature of the Party among the people.
Let’s admit it–the drugs issue has been elevated into the national discourse and it is not anymore a mere afterthought in the taxonomy of political issues. Duterte may or may not be right in raising this issue at the foremost levels, but the fact remains that it is a serious issue which millions of Filipino families are grappling about, not just poverty.
To the minds of the intelligentsia, the drug problem is no more than an economic one. Others say, it is of a social nature, being a serious health issue.
Unless there is a radical break from the ordinary, this problem will remain serious and will in fact, turn out to be an intractable one.
This is a unique opportunity for Robredo to prove once and for all that she has the tough spine to lead this nation towards greatness.
Let me disabuse the minds of Senator Bong Go— that he thinks Robredo will lose sleep once she accepts this Duterte job offer. We believe that Robredo will not.
Robredo may continue on her expertise of looking at this issue on the policy side and let allied political forces do the walking.
First, Robredo must expose these drug lords publicly. Let these people and their families be put to public ridicule and shame. This will surely affect their operations.
Second, expose the associates of these drug lords. Shame them. Fire them from their public posts. Make it difficult for them to get any government sinecure.
Third, neutralizing these scums necessitates special operations.