VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Robredo contradicts LP spox; accepts offer to lead efforts vs. illegal drugs

Vice President Leni Robredo has agreed to co-chair the government’s Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) just hours after the Liberal Party (LP), which Robredo chairs, said she will not accept the post.

STATEMENT

Speaking before members of the media at the Office of the Vice President on Nov. 6, Robredo said:

“...sa dulo, ang pinaka mahalagang konsiderasyon para sa akin ay simple lang: Kung ito ang pagkakataon para matigil ang patayan ng mga inosente at mapanagot ang kailangang managot, papasanin ko ito. Kaya tinatanggap ko ang trabaho na ibinibigay sa akin ng pangulo

(In the end, the most important consideration for me is simple: If this will serve as an opportunity to stop innocent people from being killed and to hold [abusive officials] accountable, then I will carry the burden. Hence, I am accepting the job the president has asked me to do).”

Source: VP Leni Robredo official Facebook page, Vice President Leni Robredo addresses the media, Nov. 6, 2019, watch from 1:00 to 1:24

FLIPFLOP

In a statement sent to reporters via email around 8:20 a.m. and posted on the official LP website, LP Spokesperson Erin Tañada explicitly said:

Tatanggihan ni VP Leni ang maging tau-tauhan sa drug war na nakaangkla sa pagpatay (VP Leni will refuse to be a pawn in a drug war that is anchored on killing).”

Source: Liberal Party, Tanada: Tatanggihan ni VP Leni ang maging tau-tauhan sa drug war na nakaangkla sa pagpatay, Nov. 6, 2019


Calling President Rodrigo Duterte’s ICAD post offer an “admission” that the government’s bloody war on drugs was a “failure,” Tañada said:

Bakit tatanggapin ni VP Leni ang alok kung ang gusto pa ring mangyari ng gobyerno ay pumatay nang pumatay? Dahil unang-una, mali ang pumatay. At ramdam ni VP Leni ang ramdam ng mga biktima ng patayan...Hindi tatanggapin ni VP Leni ang alok na pumatay para sa huwad na war on drugs.”

(Why would VP Leni accept the offer if what the government wants is to keep on killing? First of all, it is wrong to kill. And VP Leni understands what the victims of the killings feel...VP Leni will not accept the offer to kill in the name of [the government’s] war on drugs).”

Hours after the vice president’s announcement however, LP President Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said the party supports Robredo’s decision.

Robredo’s announcement came a day after Malacañang released Duterte’s memorandum, dated Oct. 31, officially designating her as co-chair of ICAD, currently led by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.

Her spokesperson Barry Gutierrez earlier called the designation "problematic" since, he said, it was not clear from the memorandum what Robredo's powers will be.

Duterte first offered Robredo to take the lead on the drug war on Oct. 28, a week after the latter said in a Reuters interview that the campaign was “obviously not working.”

The president in his speech then said:

Siya ang magdala. Tignan natin kung anong mangyari. Hindi ako makialam. Sige, gusto mo? Mas bright ka? Sige. Ikaw. Subukan mo (Let her carry the burden. Let’s see what happens. I won’t interfere. You want to handle it? You think you can do a better job? Okay. You try).”

Source: Presidential Communications Operations Office, Speech of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during the oath-taking ceremony of the newly appointed government officials, Oct. 28, 2019, watch from 16:18 to 16:46


Sources

VP Leni Robredo official Facebook page, Vice President Leni Robredo addresses the media, Nov. 6, 2019

Liberal Party, Tanada: Tatanggihan ni VP Leni ang maging tau-tauhan sa drug war na nakaangkla sa pagpatay, Nov. 6, 2019

Liberal Party, Statement of Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on VP Leni accepting offer to co-chair inter-agency on anti-illegal drugs, Nov. 6, 2019

ABS-CBN News, ‘Handa ba kayo?’: Robredo accepts Duterte challenge to lead inter-agency committee vs. illegal drugs, Nov. 6, 2019

Inquirer.net, BREAKING: Robredo accepts Duterte’s drug czar post appointment, Nov. 6, 2019

Cebu Daily News, BREAKING: Robredo accepts Duterte’s drug czar appointment, Nov. 6, 2019

BusinessWorld, VP Robredo named co-chair of drug committee, Nov. 6, 2019

GMA News Online, Duterte designates Robredo as co-chair of inter-agency body vs. illegal drugs, Nov. 5, 2019

Rappler.com, Duterte names Robredo co-chair of inter-agency anti-illegal drugs body, Nov. 5, 2019

GMA News Online, Robredo camp: Duterte offer to VP ‘problematic’, Nov. 5, 2019

Rappler.com, Robredo spokesman scoffs at ‘empty, powerless’ anti-drug post, Nov. 5, 2019

Presidential Communications Operations Office, Speech of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during the oath-taking ceremony of the newly appointed government officials, Oct. 28, 2019

Reuters, Philippine vice president says time for Duterte to halt failed drug war, Oct. 23, 2019



(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)

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