Malacañang on Monday said the drug czar designation accepted by Vice President Leni Robredo is not a Cabinet position.
“The post she was appointed to is not a Cabinet level,” said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo in a message sent to reporters.
“The discretion to appoint her as a member of the Cabinet, in addition to her appointment as the anti-illegal drug czar lies with the President,” he added.
On Nov. 5, Duterte has put into writing his offer to Robredo to help his administration’s aggressive crackdown against the illegal drug trade.
In a memorandum dated October 31, Duterte designated the Vice President as co-chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-illegal Drugs (ICAD) until the end of his term on June 30, 2022.
Robredo’s spokesperson Barry Gutierrez, however, said it remained unclear whether the Vice President’s designation is a Cabinet position since it was not indicated in the memorandum order signed by the President.
Panelo previously mentioned that all government offices and instrumentalities involved in the enforcement of the law on illegal drugs will be placed under Robredo’s command and supervision “with a Cabinet secretary portfolio”.
In an interview with reporters on Oct. 31, Duterte himself said he would give Robredo a Cabinet position so that “she will have the authority” to take over all drug-related agencies and bureaus.
Panelo even said Robredo could start attending Cabinet meetings without invitations.
Robredo, however, insisted that she would only attend Cabinet meetings upon official invitation from the Palace.
The designation of Robredo was made following demands by critics that enforcement power should be given to Robredo through official correspondence. (PNA)