After taking charge to lead an anti-drug campaign on the Philippines, Vice President Leni Robredo said on November 8 that it was time to reassess a campaign that was fraught with senseless killings and had failed to curtail a staggering rise in addiction. On Friday, she was declared to be in charge of the role. 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.
Vice President Leni Robredo said the strategy should be as much about public health as it was crime and justice, and police operations, known as "Oplan Tokhang", must be conducted lawfully and based on evidence at her first meeting in charge of a task force on narcotics. She said that there have been a lot of senseless killings and that it has reached a certain level of notoriety. The VP said that its time to shift to something that is effective and that no one is killed senselessly. She awaits the evidence-based strategy and approach, she concluded. Robredo said she thinks of Duterte's offer as a sign of his openness to new ideas.
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.