MANILA, Philippines – This came not so much of a big surprise. It was just a matter of time, actually.
And so President Rodrigo Duterte pulled the proverbial trigger late Sunday (24 November 2019) and fired Vice President Leni Robredo only two weeks after appointing her as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD).
Malacañang also confirmed this late Sunday through Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea Sunday night in a text message to members of the Malacanang Press Corps.
At the same time, Palace Spokesman Salvador Panelo also issued an official statement saying “Robredo was being removed from her post in response to the suggestion of Liberal Party President, Senator Francis Pangilinan, to just fire the Vice President from her post.”
“This is also in response to the taunt and dare of VP Robredo for the President to just tell her that he wants her out,” said Panelo.
Panelo claimed Robredo’s appointment to ICAD “was an offer to make the campaign against illegal drugs better.”
“Unfortunately, she wasted such an opportunity and used the same as a platform to attack the methods undertaken by this Administration,” Panelo added.
Some quarters believe Robredo’s sacking, which just came only about two weeks after her appointment by President Duterte, may have stemmed from her alleged “invitation” of United Nations probers to look into his campaign against illegal drugs.
“I am firing her right now…sabi niya hindi apology yan. Sorry lang kung false news yan,” the Palace spokesman quoted Duterte as saying.
Panelo, for his part, also criticized Robredo for talking to officials of the United Nations and the United States embassy “who remain out-of-touch from the realities of the local drug problem on the ground.”
It is an open secret both the UN and the US have criticized the Duterte administration’s anti-narcotics campaign.
Panelo also added saying “the Vice President [has] ample authority and powers to direct all responsible government instrumentalities to act in accordance with the strategic objectives that she might have had in mind, in line with putting an end to the drug menace in our country.”
The spokesman also denied that firing of Robredo is no more than a smokescreen of the Palace to cover the missteps of the 30th SEAG organizers in receiving guests and athletes alike who allegedly experienced assorted glitches as they started flowing in since Saturday.
“Further, given the transparency of her motive to politicize the issue, the intention of the Vice President to seek access to confidential law enforcement information can not be given the benefit of the doubt as being free from malice or manipulation,” Panelo added. (IAMIGO/CNS)