PDEA chief finds it hard to deal with Robredo as ICAD co-chair

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director-General Aaron Aquino on Thursday, December 12, said he felt uncomfortable with Vice President Leni Robredo when she was his Inter-agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) co-chair.

According to him, since Robredo is the vice president of the country, he found it hard to “dictate” her on what to do.

“Nahirapan kasi ako to be honest with you, as the co-chair. Number one, it’s hard for me to dictate dahil vice president siya, Usec (Undersecretary) lang naman ako (To be honest with you it was really tough for me. Because number one she’s the vice president while I’m just an Undersecretary by rank),” he said.

“Pangalawa, hindi ko din ma-dictate (sa kanya) kung anong dapat niyang gawin, … So when she started meeting with other foreign groups hindi ko rin siya mapigilan so nahihirapan ako (Second, I cannot dictate to her what she must do, so when she started meeting with other foreign groups, I couldn’t really stop her so I struggled),” he added.

However, Aquino commended Robredo for her inputs as ICAD co-chair.

“I feel really uncomfortable kasi nga vice president siya pero sa tingin ko naman maganda naman ‘yung mga recommendations niya (I feel really uncomfortable because she’s the vice president but I think her recommendations were good),” he said.

Aquino also said that he compiled the two recommendation reports that Robredo submitted to Duterte during her stint as ICAD co-chair and gave ICAD members a copy.

“I told them we can follow it if it’s beneficial. I asked them to comply,” he said, adding that he asked ICAD member-agencies to report by January their compliance on the vice president’s recommendations.

Robredo was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte as the administration’s anti-drug czar in November following her remark that his war against illegal drugs is “obviously, not working.” She was removed from her post less than three weeks later for her supposed “missteps” such as speaking to foreign nations, failing to present a program of action in her new role as ICAD co-chair, and challenging Duterte to fire her.

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at [email protected].

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