A member of the Liberal Party admitted on Thursday, Nov. 7, that he felt surprised by the decision of Vice President Leni Robredo to accept the offer of President Rodrigo Duterte for her to co-chair the Interagency Committee on Illegal Drugs.
Caloocan City 2nd District Rep. Edgar Erice called the decision of Robredo as courageous but fears how it will affect the Vice President.
“Itong desisyon na ito ay parang hindi kaya ng isang ordinary mortal dahil napaka-bigat,” Erice said during DZRH’s Damdaming Bayan.
Erice clarified that the role of the Vice President in ICAD has yet to be defined.
Erice also pointed out that the Office of the Vice Robredo lacks the necessary resources and networks that other members of ICAD have.
The lawmaker explained that ICAD has 20 members, composed mostly of Cabinet officials under President Duterte, and four clusters: the Justice cluster, the Advocacy cluster, the Rehabilitation and Reformation cluster, and the Enforcement cluster.
He said that the Justice cluster falls under the Department of Justice, the Advocacy cluster is under the Department of Interior and Local Government, Rehabilitation and Reformation is under the Department of Health and the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and Enforcement is under the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)
PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino also serves as the chairperson of ICAD.
“Lahat sila may resources. Lahat sila may network at may definite na katungkulan, yung scope of work alam nila. Sa tinanggap na posisyon ni Vice President Leni, hanggang sa ngayon hindi pa maliwanag kung ano ang papel niya,” Erice said.
“Hindi natin alam kung sino ba ang masusunod dito sa ICAD o papaano yung decision making-process sa ICAD,” the solon added.
Erice also pointed out that Robredo has a different policy on the anti-illegal drug campaign compared to President Duterte, which might hinder her work in ICAD.
Meanwhile, the lawmaker assured that the Liberal Party will support Robredo, the chairperson of the political party.
“We hope and pray na maraming mga miyembro ng ICAD ay supportahan din si Vice President Leni. Dapat burahin natin yung mga pagduda, at magsimula tayo sa zero,” Erice said.
Erice added that Robredo and President Duterte should use this opportunity to rally and unite members of the Administration, and Opposition in the war against illegal drugs.