Home Editors' Picks VP unlikely to be given Cabinet rank
VP unlikely to be given Cabinet rank
PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte is unlikely to give Vice President Maria Leonor G. Robredo a Cabinet rank because she’s intent on revealing confidential information about the Philippines’ deadly war on drugs, the presidential palace said yesterday.
The vice president’s plan to seek advice from foreign institutions and allowing media to document her duties are “registered red signs that could not be ignored,” presidential spokesman Salvador S. Panelo said in a statement.
“Ms. Robredo’s insistence on getting access to classified information, a revelation of which could imperil the welfare of the Filipino people and the security of the state, added to Mr. Duterte’s reconsideration of his earlier desire to appoint her in the Cabinet,” he said.
Philippine police have said they have killed about 6,000 people in illegal drug raids, many of them resisting arrest. Some local nongovernmental organizations and the national Commission on Human Rights have placed the death toll at more than 27,000.
Giving Ms. Robredo, the opposition leader whom Mr. Duterte had put in charge of his deadly war on drugs, unlimited access to sensitive state information that she could share with outsiders could result in “adverse consequences,” Mr. Panelo said. He cited her “tendency to be generous with acquired information and knowledge to others whose predilection may not be in the best interest of the country.”
Mr. Panelo earlier said Ms. Robredo risked losing her position as Mr. Duterte’s drug czar if she reveals confidential information to foreign entities.
Since accepting the post, Ms. Robredo has met with the US Embassy and United Nations officials to discuss the anti-illegal drug campaign, which majority of Filipinos support even if it has drawn international criticism.
The opposition leader this month said she had agreed to head the Duterte administration’s anti-illegal drug campaign, if only to stop the killings. She accepted the post against the advice of many of her party mates, who said the appointment might be a trap.
Ms. Robredo has vowed to enforce the state’s anti-illegal drug campaign within the bounds of the law. She said she would treat the drug problem not only as a crime, but also as a health issue.
The vice president has repeatedly cited the need to re-assess the government strategy against illegal drugs given the rising number of drug dependents. — Gillian M. Cortez