MANILA, Philippines — “This is war, giyera ito; you have to fight, hindi ka pwedeng pacute-cute dito (you can’t play cute here).”
So said Senator Bato Dela Rosa as he gave a stern piece of “unsolicited advice” to Vice President Leni Robredo who on Wednesday (06 November 2019) accepted an offer by President Rodrigo Duterte for her to serve as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD).
A former PNP chief, Dela Rosa was a leading figure before of the Duterte administration’s bloody drug war.
Dela Rosa added that “to win it,” Robredo he said “has to be tough” now that she has joined the anti-drug campaign.
“Ang sinalihan niya is war on drugs at ang kalaban mo diyan ay mga sira ulo, ang kalaban mo diyan ay malalaking sindikato. So how can you wage a war without fighting? So, she has to fight,” Dela Rosa told reporters at the Senate.
In a press briefing, Robredo said that one of the things she considered in accepting the position was the lives she could potentially save if she would be involved in efforts to fight the growth of drugs in the country.
“Kung maiwasan ang killings, iwasan (If we can avoid killings, avoid). Pero (But) how do you… war na ito eh (this is already a war), kalaban natin eh mga siraulo (we are against crooks), kalaban natin mga armado (we are against armed people). Kita mo ‘yung pulis (look at the police), 120 plus policemen namatay sa (were killed in this) war on drugs, so mamatay ba ‘yun kung walang lumalaban (so would those cops be killed if there’s no resistance), may lumalaban talaga (but there’s resistance),” Dela Rosa went on.
Senator Dela Rosa also advised the Vice President to treat the drug problem as a social problem and not a political one.
“You look at the problem, not as a political problem. ‘Wag mo siyang tignan na politika itong problema na ito, tignaan mo talaga ito as a social problem (Do not look at it as a political problem, you should really look at it as a social problem),” he said.
“Sa opposition siya so sana pagpasok niya diyan sa giyera na ‘yan, i-assume niya ang role niya as ‘Ako’y isang Pilipino, gusto kong linisin ang aking bansa sa droga.’ Hindi papasok na ‘Ako’y isang opposition, babantayan ko ‘yung mga ginagawa ng administrasyon na ito, kung anong mali haharangin ko’,” he added.
Dela Rosa said he is optimistic that the drug war would become “more successful” with Robredo “on board.”
“Isipin mo, number two highest official in the country sumama sa ating war on drugs. So, I’m so happy. From the bottom of my heart, I thank her for joining in this fight,” he said.
“I’m very optimistic, mas lalong magiging successful ‘yung ating war on drugs with her on board dahil additional perspective on the war on drugs, the more the merrier,” he added. (Chris Figueroa/IAMIGO/CNS)