I don’t know about you, but in this instance I thought no matter what President Rodrigo Roa Duterte would be the winner, as he hired Leni Robredo as the Co-Chair of the ICAD three weeks ago on the 6th November 2019. Today we are clocking 24th November 2019. This means the Vice-President got 18 days at the ICAD.
In this matter, I thought she couldn’t win. She couldn’t manage with the mandate of ICAD and neither the strings of the ICAD to succeed in anything. But apparently, the President couldn’t manage to anyone questioning him and reporting to him. Who wasn’t “Yes Men” or the following his protocol to the T.
Because, this is only a loss for the President. Who couldn’t see Leni fulfilling her time or even manage to implement anything. Therefore, it isn’t Leni’s loss, but the President. However, before I dwell on that, let me show the weird timeline of this matter. Will show three pieces, of when she was announced, limiting her power and now the firing. Before addressing the matter on my own.
“MANILA — A day after accepting the challenge to lead the government’s intensified campaign against illegal drugs, Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo has called for her first meeting with members of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), Malacañang said on Thursday. Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo was told by Executive Secretary (ES) Salvador Medialdea through a phone call that Robredo and ICAD members would meet to discuss President Rodrigo Duterte’s efforts to fight illegal drugs” (Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos – ‘Robredo to meet with ICAD members: Palace’ 07.11.2019, PNA).
“President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Tuesday said Vice President Leni Robredo would remain as Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) co-chair but would have limited access to classified information in the fight against the proliferation of illegal narcotics. “Need to know lang siya. If she asks something, then you give her…you give her half of it. The other half, if it’s a classified information, there is no need for her to know,” President Duterte said during a press conference in Malacañang” (PCOO – ‘President Duterte clarifies VP Robredo’s role as ICAD co-chair’ 20.11.2019).
“Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 24) — President Rodrigo Duterte has fired Vice President Leni Robredo from her post as co-chair of the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), less than three weeks after her appointment, his spokesperson told CNN Philippines. Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Sunday that apart from her missteps, Duterte fired Robredo because she spoke with foreigners, was asking for the scope of her powers and was among those daring the President to fire her, along with Senator Francis Pangilinan. “So pagbibigyan niya (Duterte) na rin si Pangilinan,” Panelo said. [Translation: So the President is also giving in to Senator Kiko Pangilinan.]” (Ina Andolong and Xave Gregorio – ‘Duterte fires Robredo from anti-drug czar post’ 24.11.2019, CNN Philippines).
If the President and his close associates thinks this is wise. These three weeks will not be remembered as a tale of success or victory. This is not Build! Build! Build!, where you can show off a few bridges, pieces of roads and possible transit projects. No, this is actual changes on the drug-war and prove that its legit.
Because, the mandate of ICAD was already marginal as is, the powers of the ICAD and the Co-Chair isn’t that significant. The mandate alone together with the others is limited. That’s why in the end, its up to the President if he wants the police, the army and other agencies to act differently in concern of the drug-war.
That’s why, I thought Vice-President Robredo couldn’t win this one. But by firing her only after three weeks. Before, she even started. Even as she has talked to NGOs and ambassadors of foreign nations. She is still viable to do that, even as that hurts the pride of the President. Not like she was selling out or giving away islands or territory to the Chinese. No, she was just talking.
President Duterte was the loser here. He lost it and couldn’t manage to be asked what sort of mandate and possible tasks she could consider at the Co-Chair of ICAD. Like that is too much to dare? Even if she dared him to fire her. That was a trick and he went for it.
This doesn’t make him look wise nor brilliant. It makes him look stupid and that’s not a look any President want to have. As a Head of State, he should been more calm and given her time. That is if, he was sincere about appointing her. Not that I think he was a single second, but still he should been more easy. No matter how head-stirring it would be to work with her. Because, Leni should have gotten more than a hot-minute at ICAD.
She couldn’t even report, be apart or have any possible time to achieve squat. Not like he could have changed much in three weeks either. The ploy was to get her in and let her fail. Instead, he failed and shown that his temper cannot stomach another busy-bee, whose has the courage to question him. That was to much for Rodrigo. That’s why Leni had to get axed.
President Duterte, this make you look stupid, not smart. FYI: If you had kept Robredo at ICAD, she could have failed and not achieved much. Been a stalwart and loose canon on-ship, as she could only do minor tweaks and not significantly change anything. The results would be mediocre, but you could have pinned on her.
Still, with that, you didn’t see that and you now look dumb. Not a good move. Not a good move. This was built for her, so that she couldn’t win, but even with that in the cards. You still lost your gamble. You had the winning hand, but you folded. You couldn’t even bluff, you just had to give up and let the others win. Peace.
Vice President Leni Robredo cannot win this anti-drug war. Even if she now becomes the Co-Chair at the ICAD. The President and his actions on the drug-war alone will reside, even as she has the helm of the ICAD. President Rodrigo Duterte has through the Executive Order No. 15 of 2017 and the Memorandum Order No. 17 of 2017. Already put the strains and the wordings in.
Where ICAD mandate and role is already put. The Philippines Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) by these documents are still the overall lead agency, while the Dangerous Drug Board (DDB) will remain as the policy making one.
The ICAD is a monitoring mechanism to ensure all the various agencies and government organizations are implementing all the policies, laws and issuances pertaining to the government’s anti-illegal drug campaign. That means the ICAD will monitor and supervise these organizations: DILG, DDB, DOJ, DOH, DepED, DSWD, DTI, DA, DND, TESDA, PIA, PAO, OSG, PCG, PNP, NBI, BOC, BI, AFP and AMLC.
That means the ICAD will secure the implementation of the DDB and ensure the PDEA are working accordingly. The ICAD shall then again prove their work and report to the Office of the President. This all means, the ICAD is a formal board following the works, but not directly doing it.
The task of becoming the Drug-War Czar of Robredo is a failing one from the get-go. The ICAD by the stipulations in the Executive Order and Memorandum of 2017 shows the intention. Just like the NBI, PNP, AFP, BoC, Philpost and all other agencies and existing anti-illegal drug task forces shall resume to provide active support to the PDEA in the conduct of anti-illegal drug operation. Therefore, the ICAD will provide support of PDEA, just like the other agencies are supposed to provide support of PDEA.
Therefore, if she wanted to change something. That was not being the chair of the ICAD. That would be directly involved in the DDB or PDEA. The other agencies are following the order there. The ICAD is just a supervising and monitoring unit. It is not the directing authority. Not by how the paperwork of 2017 says.
In this regard, Duterte has done a bargain. He let the PDEA chair of the hook. Gave the OVP more responsibility. While she has really less control, than how it looks. No matter how the OVP plays this out. The DDB and the PDEA might screw her over. The reports to the Presidency better be more joyful, than the ones whose been presented since its inception in 2017.
Robredo has gotten the short end of the stick. She is played before she’s touching the ground. The agency should have gotten ordered and co-chair in, wasn’t ICAD but PDEA. If she was there, should could have stopped killings and murder of civilians. However, she’s just monitoring and ensuring the implementation of the DDB policies.
OVP Robredo seems like she doesn’t understand that herself. But I cannot see her winning in this manner. Not happening and Duterte outplayed her. Robredo cannot be the winner. Not in this bargain. Unless, she has a magical wand and change the realities from the get go. Peace.
Today, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte announced that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will replace and take charge of the Bureau of Customs. That is an added extension of the army and secondly, also of the use of soldiers. Then, they are not there anymore just to add safety of the sovereign borders and create peace in the land. But scan and secure all passengers and goods passing into the Republic.
Isn’t that a bit extensive for the armed forces? Meaning, the army needs brigades for all Border Posts and every where the Bureau of Customs (BOC) is operating. They have to add much more trained man-power and this is excessive use of the army. The AFP should clearly focus on other tasks, than check what sort of goods that is coming into the Philippines. This is a foolish move by the President.
Take a look!
ABS-CBN News reported this earlier today:
““They will be replaced, all of them, by military men. It will be a takeover of the Armed Forces in the matter of operating, in the meantime, while we are sorting out how to effectively meet the challenges of corruption in this country,” Duterte said” (…) “”I want to put on notice everybody in the Bureau of Customs, they are all in floating status. Maybe start again working, but I said, they are all floating status,” he said in a speech during the thanksgiving dinner of former Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano in Davao City. “The Customs intelligence unit, they are to report to Malacañang, all of them. I’m ordering everybody to report to my office. Maybe I’ll issue the memorandum. They will hold office there at the Malacañang Gymnasium. Lahat,” Duterte added” (ABS-CBN News – ‘Duterte temporarily puts Bureau of Customs under military control’ 29.10.2018, link: https://news.abs-cbn.com/business/10/29/18/duterte-temporarily-puts-bureau-of-customs-under-military-control).
If he takes away the trained personnel for a soldier, he is clearly forgetting the task at hand and the long time it takes to know the trademarks of counterfeit goods and also drug-smuggling, which both is sophisticated industries. Where the men and cartels behind it uses all methods to pass through the check-points, the border-points and get through the Customs search. This is well-known and the ones working has to be vigilant and see for the signs to find the culprits bringing the illegal goods across the borders.
Soldiers are trained for a whole different operations and operative in a different way, than the Customs Units. That is evident and doesn’t need rocket-science to understand. It is vile attempt of control and this will not eradicate the imports of illegal substances and drugs. As they will finds way to trick these soldiers and methods, which are to smart for these soldiers whose used in shooting guns. Not questioning paperwork, licenses and if a kids-toys or lipsticks are filled with cocaine.
Secondly, if the President really does this to the BOC. Should we anticipate the soldiers also to takeover the Philippines Ports Authority (PPA). Since they already are running the Customs, wouldn’t it be more significant and more likely take all drug-dealers if they have the whole ports under siege in the Republic? To ensure the imports to the airports, shouldn’t soldiers also run the The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP)? While they are at it, shouldn’t they also have soldiers running the Philippine Postal Corporation (PHILPOST)?
Because, by that time, they have control of the Customs, the Ports, the Airports and the Post by soldiers, shouldn’t that stop it all from coming to the shores. As you cannot trust civil servants or experts to do their jobs. All are corruptible and the only ones that cease to be following codes are the soldiers. I know I am taking it far, but isn’t it a bit far-fetched and worrying if you needs soldiers who is trained to kill, to check if it is Menthos or a spliff passing by at the Customs at Manila Ninoy Aquino Airport?
Since you cannot trust the BOC, maybe you cannot trust the management of the ports, the airports, the post or even the Barangay Captain who just happens to pick up a package sent to his uncle. Who knows, right?
In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte has been a strongman whose fought the good fight for the people against government corruption, also used martial law to beat Islamist’s in Marawi on the island of Mindanao. Now, he has also broken the dialogue with the communists rebels, of the militia of the New People’s Army. Therefore, as he has used the army and police to battle drug-cartels and militias. You would expect a fellow President to manage a few journalists.
President Duterte has now started a spat and unnecessary, as the Christopher Lawrence “Bong” has stated today to the media after 48 hours of foolishness from themselves. This is crisis made out of stupidity made by the Malacañang. Duterte and Bong just acting dumb by kicking out a reporter from Rappler. Pia Randa yesterday on the 20th February and then barring her from entering today.
They have stated this to the media:
“Let us be clear: The case of Rappler is not an attack on press freedom. Members of the media, including the Philippine Daily Inquirer, continue to be hard-hitting yet they can cover the activities of the President. Ms. Ranada’s accreditation, which would give her access to Palace activities, lies on Rappler’s accreditation. If Rappler wants to have direct coverage of certain events inside and outside Malacañang, it may apply for Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) accreditation. Two things could have avoided Rappler’s present predicament: One, get a temporary restraining order. Two, be a Filipino corporation. Unfortunately, Rappler failed to obtain a TRO and failed to show that it is a Filipino entity” (Presidential Communications Operations Office – ‘From the Presidential Spokesperson – On Rappler’ 21.02.2018).
By the standard of the ownership of Rappler, it is owned by Dolphin Fire Group (31%), Maria Resa (23%), Hatchd Group (17% ), Benjamin So (17%), Public Trust and Media Group (5%) and 4 minority owners with about 5%. So the ownership of Rappler and Rappler Holding Company is based in the Philippines, even if they have gotten funding from abroad Omidyar Network and North Base Media. Both foreign, but the ownership is still Philippines based. Therefore, the attacks on this is a bit strange.
That is just the quick defense of Rappler and their ownership, which should be easily accessed to the President and his associates. Since they can get all registers and all files on the company. Since the Rappler Holding Corporation has to pay taxes and levies like any other. I would expect the Spokesperson to the President knowing this. Even I could find this information without very little research, since this is public, as a public company and with open access to the domain.
However, this isn’t just about press freedom, this is about the open scar of weakness. That the President doesn’t like one story about Navy Frigate Deal. Maybe, the President should be transparent about the trade and deal, also show the process of the agreement with set supplier of the boat. Not just spray venom and show fury over Rappler writing a story. Show the truth, drop the arrangement, mark the classified details, which only the military can know and show the paper-trail if the story is false. That would be mature and prove transparency in his actions. However, he takes away press credentials and beats the messenger, instead of showing the true face of Navy Frigate deal.
I hate to say it, but Duterte looks weak and foolish with this. He could have shown his true character and riding the storm. Instead he seems hot-headed and unwise. Duterte been swift and wise in cracking down on terrorists and communist rebels. But doing this to a report from Rappler is childish and petty. He is supposed to be better and have better reasoning behind it. Clearly, he lost it a bit and need guidance.
Sometimes the ego of a person goes to far, in this instance it has. Duterte forgotten, that he represent all parts of the people, even the critical ones. They are labeling Rappler foreign when its not, and trying to muffle their reports. However, instead of debunking and showing the legitimate agreement, which is the main reason for this attack on the media company.
The reporter in question is known for being critical of Duterte, that is fact, still Duterte and Malacañang press corps could need that. But the administration and the president seems misguided. Duterte should show strength, not weakness. This is weak, really weak, petty even.
President Duterte, you have been able to beat the hell out of terrorists and are doing what you can beat communist rebels. Two noble fights, also the third to get rid of the drug-cartels. All of that has been for the betterment of the republic. However, this attack on Rappler, as it has been now from the administration since January 2018. This is just the latest after the state revoked it license. Seemingly, you have the courage and boldness to beat the ones with guns, ammunition and drugs.
But, you cannot manage a report from Rappler? Is that your Achilles heel? That is weak tea. Really weak tea. Steaming hot water, but with no flavor. Peace.