VP Leni’s drug war ‘won’t be soft on traffickers’

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MANILA, Phillipines — Only days after her nomination as a drug czar, her spokesman told the public that she would not be soft on drug traffickers as threats and “fake news” against Vice President Leni Robredo went “into overdrive.”

Barry Gutierrez said Robredo would be “unrelenting” to go after large-scale traffickers and pursue the drug war “with the same intensity and vigor” as in the recent past, but with less bloodshed.

“She’s definitely not going to be soft,” Gutierrez said to “The Chiefs” on Cignal TV’s One News last Monday, describing her new role in the fight against illegal drugs as “counterproductive and very premature” criticisms.

Women Today forum was organized by the Philippine STAR at the Marriott hotel, in which Vice President Robredo said that “I accepted the challenge against the advice of everyone, including my children.”

But “I needed to do this sacrifice for the greater good,” Robredo said.

Today she will meet with U.S. embassy officials to discuss new alliances in the drug war in the country.

Robredo was unable to verify whether the meeting would be attended by US Ambassador Sung Kim, who previously expressed support for her role as a drug czar.

“We want to know how we can ask for help, not in the area of law enforcement, but we want to know the available resources especially in the area of intelligence,” Robredo told reporters after attending the women’s forum in Pasay City.

“We will be needing greater help in running after the big-time drug lords,” she added.

Upon her appointment as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), Kim earlier expressed support for Robredo.

Robredo said tomorrow she will also consult with ICAD’s law enforcement unit.

The vice president said she would encourage law enforcers to actively participate in the development of the new strategy.

“I’d rather let the law enforcers conceptualize a more effective program so they can have ownership of it,” she said.

Robredo also received an invite from the House for her to attend her hearing and explain her intentions.

“I’d love to attend that because this could serve as a platform to lay down the direction of the campaign,” she said.

Robredo said her confidence as a mother in her speech at the forum helped her accept the offer of President Duterte to lead the anti-drug campaign.

“Perhaps it was my instinct as a mother that I accepted this responsibility,” she said.

“Within my days of acceptance of the designation by the President, statements and fake news pushed by trolls on social media were already coming out insinuating that I lack courage and resolve because I was only a mother and woman,” Robredo, a mother of three, said.

As the new head of the anti-illegal drug campaign by the government, the vice president stressed that by taking down big-time traffickers, she would focus on reducing the supply of illegal drugs in the country.

De Lima, a fierce critic of the drug war of the administration, said she is still praying for the continued security and strength of her fellow Bicolana as the latter works to strengthen the anti-narcotics campaign of the state.

“We pray for VP Leni’s safety, enduring strength and success,” said De Lima.

De Lima said she is confident that Robredo could provide a genuine solution to the illegal drug problems facing the country because “she will bring compassion where there is no compassion; and leadership and direction where necessary.” (Chris Figueroa/IAMIGO/CNS)

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