Vice President Leni Robredo will be playing a lead role in President Rodrigo Duterte's deadly crackdown against drugs as the offer by President was accepted on November 06. VP Robredo, who is also the former human rights lawyer said that she agreed to the offer so that she could save lives under the campaign as thousands of drug suspects have reportedly died because of the gunbattles with police. Before accepting the offer, VP Robredo was also warned us it was believed that it could be a political ploy to destroy her. She even said that many have expressed concerns that the offer by the President is an “insincere offer” and a “trap” which aims to undermine and put her to shame.
VP Robredo said, “While it can be said that this offer is just politicking and that the agencies won’t really follow me and would do everything so I won’t succeed, I’m ready to endure all of these. If I can save even one innocent life, my principles and my heart tell me that I should try,”.
Communications Secretary Martin Andanar welcomed Robredo’s decision. “We believe that the loudest critics should act beyond mere observers, but be active contributors for change.”
Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International’s regional director for East and Southeast Asia said, “Vice President Robredo must be granted power to halt the daily killings and change the deadly command structure we have documented, otherwise this move will be an empty gesture. Her appointment does not change the fact that the Duterte administration’s ‘war on drugs’ amounts to crimes against humanity.”
According to the offer, Robredo is appointed as one of the two heads of an inter-agency committee that will be including the police and the military and is tasked with overseeing and coordinating the government's efforts to combat illegal drugs. The campaign was reportedly launched in 2016 after President Duterte's election. That time the President claimed that the Philippines had become a 'narco-state'. President Duterte later called on members of the public to kill drug addicts and dealers and said that he would offer a bounty to the police for killing suspected users and sellers of narcotics. The campaign has reportedly led to approximately 6,600 dealers, however, the Human Rights group has cited a higher death toll.