Duterte offers Robredo power over drug war

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

President Rodrigo Duterte administers Vice President Leni Robredo's oath of office as Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council secretary.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 28) — President Rodrigo Duterte has offered Vice President Leni Robredo powers over the war on drugs for six months, on the heels of her fresh comments criticizing one of his administration's flagship programs.

Duterte said Monday that if Robredo wants, he can "commission her to be the drug czar."

"I'm ready to give to you, to concede to you powers that would cover all anti-drug activities by the government. Sabihin niya at I’ll give her a clean slate para malaman niya kung gaano kadali magkontrol ng droga," Duterte told reporters at the sidelines of an oath-taking of newly-appointed government officials.

[Translation: I'm ready to give to you, to concede to you powers that would cover all anti-drug activities by the government. Just let her say it and I'll give her a clean slate so that she'll know just how easy it is to control drugs.]

"Gusto ko lang malaman kung kaya niya. Marami kasing sinasalita," he added. "Do it here. Six months."

[Translation: I just want to know if she can do it. She says a lot of things ... Do it here. Six months.]

Duterte clarified that he is not surrendering anything immediately after a speech where he said that he "will surrender [his] powers to enforce the law."

Ibigay ko sa Vice President. Ibigay ko sa kanya mga six months. Siya ang magdala. Tingnan natin kung ano mangyari. Hindi ako makialam. Sige, gusto mo? Mas bright ka? Sige. Ikaw. Subukan mo,” Duterte said in his speech.

[Translation: I will surrender my powers to enforce the law. I will give it to the Vice President. I will give it to her, about six months. Let her do it. Let’s see what happens. I will not interfere. You want it? Sure. Do it yourself. Try it.]

He added that he sent a letter to Robredo through Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea about this offer.

Robredo earned the ire of Malacañang yet again over fresh comments on the drug war in an interview with foreign news service Reuters.

In the story that ran last week, Robredo was quoted as saying that the war on drugs should be abandoned and “has been a failure and a dent on the country’s international image.”

Robredo has denied that she called for a stop to the drug war, but only suggested to tweak its methods.

Under the Constitution, the president is mandated to “ensure that the laws be faithfully executed.”

The vice president will only assume the duties of the president in case of the latter’s “death, permanent disability, removal from office, or resignation”

Duterte vs Robredo

Speaking to reporters, Duterte also hit Robredo for saying that the Philippines should only enter into a joint oil and gas exploration with China if it recognizes Philippine sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea.

"Dreaming. That's the problem with people. They dream. They do not indulge in reality," Duterte said.

While in his speech, Duterte criticized Robredo yet again for her stance against policemen receiving gifts.

The icy relationship between the two began almost as soon as they sat in office with their attempt at forging a relationship collapsing with Robredo's exit from the Cabinet after being barred from attending meetings.

Robredo, the chair of the opposition Liberal Party, had been vocal in her opposition to the killings in Duterte's war against drugs — criticisms that the President has always brushed off with an expletive.

READ: DFA: Robredo should prove her claims on video message to UN 'side event'

Duterte has also belittled Robredo's capabilities to take the helm of the country should he step down from office.

"I will not resign because it will make her President. My resignation is addressed to the people para makapili sila ng gusto nila [so they can choose who they want]. Siya, I don't think she will ever be ready to govern a country. Reason? Incompetence," Duterte said in August 2018.

He even went as far as suggesting that someone like former Senators Francis "Chiz" Escudero or Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. are better bets at ascending to the presidency compared to her.

Marcos, a close ally of Duterte, has a pending poll protest against Robredo before the Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET).

Robredo's lead over Marcos grew by around 15,000 votes after a recount of ballots from the 5,415 clustered precincts in Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental.

CNN Philippines' Ina Andolong and Melissa Luz Lopez contributed to this report.