Senator Leila M. de Lima has labelled Mr. Duterte’s offer for Vice President Leni Robredo to become a “drug czar” as nothing more than a “silly trap” meant to insult the second highest official of the land for her vocal criticism of his deadly drug war policies.
De Lima, a former justice secretary, said that Mr. Duterte and his Spokesman Salvador Panelo are both aware that the “decorated drug czar” post with a Cabinet rank would not be effective in winning the Chief Executive’s drug war brand.
“Duterte’s continuous dangling of the supposed ‘Drug Czar’ Cabinet post for VP Leni Robredo is both the saddest and stupidest things this administration has churned out lately,” she said in her Dispatch from Crame No. 637.
“I compare it with the silly traps that Tom lays down for Jerry as he hides around the corner, hoping that Jerry would be dumb enough to jump on such an obvious ploy that any three-year-old can figure out,” she added.
Vice President Robredo recently earned Mr. Duterte’s ire for calling on the Duterte administration to re-assess its all-out campaign against the illegal drug trade that has miserably failed in stopping the proliferation of illegal drug trade in the country.
While he initially offered to put the Vice President in charge of law enforcement for six months, Duterte later extended his offer for her to be his “drug czar” until the end of his term which expires on June 2022.
Robredo, for her part, said Duterte’s offer is “an admission of failed drug war.” Her official spokesperson Barry Gutierrez maintained that Robredo would not allow herself to be made a “scapegoat” for the lapses of the government’s murderous drug war.
It may be recalled that Duterte previously said he would formally write to Robredo about his proposal through Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, but he later claimed that there was no need for Malacañang to put his offer in writing.
The lady Senator from Bicol questioned why the Duterte administration is persistently offering a Cabinet position putting the Vice President in charge of all the anti-drug programs in the country despite knowing that the strategy is doomed to fail.
“If it can, why didn’t he create such a post on his first days as President? Why create one now for VP Robredo, after three years of Tokhang and EJKs?” she asked.
“If his gluttonous office (which is bursting at the seams with P4.5 billion confidential and intelligence funds that can’t seem to be enough to pay for all the assassins in the country) cannot stop the smuggling of billions of pesos of shabu through the Bureau of Customs, then how can a measly Cabinet post fare better?” she added.
During the campaign trail, Duterte vowed to solve the drug problem in the country in three to six months but he failed to fulfill it more than three years in office. He, instead, brought about the killings of an estimated 27,000 individuals under his war on drugs.
De Lima, the first prominent political prisoner under the Duterte regime, maintained that Mr. Duterte is floating the idea of offering Vice President Robredo a “drug czar” post because he wants to shame the VP and all other critics of his flawed drug war.
“[Duterte wants to] create the narrative of putting all the blame of his failures to someone else, instead of admitting that he lied about winning the drug war, despite killing thousands of people,” she added.
De Lima, the most prominent political prisoner under the present government, said Duterte’s strategy of attacking personalities critical of his drug war is not new as she cited how her call for accountability over drug war killings led to her detention.