Robredo accepting drug czar offer could ‘throw her into presidency’

Vice President Leni Robredo has a high chance of becoming the next President if she accepts the offer to be drug czar for six months, Malacañang said on Wednesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo reiterated that accepting Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s offer to be drug czar would serve Robredo well because it would allow her to “show her mettle.”

Panelo likened the drug czar proposal to former President Fidel Ramos’ decision to make his Vice President Joseph Estrada head of the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission (PACC) which was tasked to go after criminal syndicates, a role which catapulted him to the presidency.

“Parang (It’s) akin ‘yun to the commission created by Pres. Ramos appointing former Vice Pres. Erap then to be the crime czar. In fact, that was a jump start for him to be president,” Panelo said in a media interview in Malacañang,

“For all we know, if she takes the job and becomes effective that will throw her to the presidency of the land. This is a very good opportunity for her,” he added.

The Palace official explained that if Robredo would accept the offer, the President could create a commission or task force for her to lead.

“Pag sinabing drug czar, ibig sabihin under sa iyo lahat ng mga ahensiya tungkol sa drugs. Eh di siya ang bossing doon (When you say drug czar, that means you will oversee all drug-related agencies. That means she’s the boss),” Panelo said.

“Yung (The) commission the president would create is in the Office of the President. PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency) and the PNP (Philippine National Police) are all under the Office of the President,” he added.

Kind gesture

Panelo insisted that the President’s offer was “serious” and that he only texted and called Robredo to give her an “advance notice” before a formal letter is sent to her office.

As of posting time, Robredo has yet to respond to Panelo’s text messages and calls.

He also insisted that the offer is a “kind gesture” made to give Robredo the chance to provide more effective solutions to the drug war which she earlier said was a failure.

“(If) you criticize, then there must be something in your criticism that is better than what he’s doing so he is humbling himself o sige na nga, bibigay ko na sayo baka mas magaling ka nga talaga sa’kin (okay, I’ll give it to you, you might be better than me),” Panelo said.

“Pag magki-criticize ka kasi dapat (If you criticize, it should be) constructive, now if it is really constructive, then accept the offer. If you accept it, it is good,” he added.

He also raised the possibility that the President would accept the suggestion made by opposition lawmakers to give Robredo not just six months, but three years of law enforcement powers.

“Baka kagatin ni Presidente yung suggestion nila. Di ba ang suggestion nila ay wag lang six months, three years? Baka kagatin ni Presidente yun, mataranta siya (The President might just accept their suggestion. Wasn’t their suggestion, three years not just six months? The President might just agree to it, she might get surprised),” Panelo said.

“Let’s see. Baka bukas meron na siyang statement. Sa makalawa, baka meron na (He might release a statement tomorrow. Perhaps the day after tomorrow, he’ll have one),” he added.

The Palace official, however, clarified that it was just his ‘educational guess” that the President would agree to the three-year suggestion.

He said he has not spoken to the President about the suggestion to be drug czar for the remaining years of his term.

Panelo, meanwhile, said that a formal letter on the President’s offer to Robredo is most likely being drafted.

“Wala pa. Baka (None yet. Maybe it’s) in the making. Knowing the President, when he says something, he does it,” Panelo said. (PNA)

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