MANILA MalacaAang on Wednesday disputed the claim of Vice President Maria Leonor Leni Robredo's camp that her appointment as co-chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) was non-existent and unclear.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo lectured Robredo's spokesperson, lawyer Barry Gutierrez, that it was unnecessary for President Rodrigo R. Duterte to amend Executive Order (EO) 15 to make the Vice President's designation as ICAD co-chair legal.
Her mouthpiece is quoted as saying that PRRD's (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte) offer to VP Leni to become the Drug Czar is not sincere because the position is non-existent pointing to Executive Order No. 15 (s. 2017) as the basis. We hate to educate a member of the bar but obviously the agent of the principal needs to brush up his law, he said in a statement.
It is basic legal doctrine that the President, as the sole repository of executive power, has the exclusive and awesome prerogative of control over all offices and officials in the Executive Branch. He has the inherent continuing authority to create positions and items, as well as to reorganize instrumentalities, within the bureaucracy, Panelo added.
EO 15, signed by Duterte on March 6, 2017, delegates the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency as chairperson of ICAD, an anti-drug body tasked to ensure the implementation of all policies, laws and issuances on the government's anti-narcotics campaign.
Duterte can appoint Robredo as co-chair of ICAD, based on the powers granted on him by the instructive Article 7, Section 17 of the 1987 Constitution and Book III, Title III, Chapter 10, Section 31 of the 1987 Administrative Code, Panelo emphasized.
Article 7, Section 17 of the Constitution states that, The President shall have control of all executive departments, bureaus and offices. He shall ensure that the laws be faithfully executive.
Book III, Title III, Chapter 10, Section 31 of the 1987 Administrative Code, meantime, provides that Duterte, as the country's president, has the continuing authority to reorganize the administrative structure of the Office of the President.
Panelo said the President appointed Robredo as ICAD co-chair to give her an opportunity to help the administration in combating illegal drugs.
In offering and appointing VP Leni as Drug Czar, the President is simply being open to suggestions from a critic of the drug war. PRRD believes that there is no better person who can implement such suggestions than the person making them, the Palace official said.
Stop 'excuses,' accept offer
Robredo has yet to accept Duterte's offer, as her appointment as co-chairperson of ICAD is unclear and non-existent, Gutierrez said in a press conference on Tuesday.
Gutierrez also claimed that the Vice President's new designation sends a message that the current administration's drug war is failing.
He apparently echoed Robredo's statement last month that Duterte's crackdown on narcotics trade was obviously not working, prompting Duterte to challenge her to lead the campaign against drug personalities in the country.
Panelo maintained that the President's anti-narcotics drive is far from being a failure or ineffective, as proposed by [Robredo].
The Duterte presidency has unearthed the magnitude and gravity of the drug menace and the Administration is vigorously addressing it, achieving results no previous administration was able to accomplish, he said.
Instead of making excuses and demands, Robredo should accept the President's offer, Panelo said.
Panelo added that the Palace was giving the Vice President a benefit of the doubt and that she wants to contribute to the success of Duterte's drug war.
In the face of a challenge to offer meaningful public service, the camp of VP Leni has been hewing and dodging, giving all sorts of excuses and demands. We would like to think that they do not come from VP Leni herself but from her advisers who apparently would not want her to succeed in serving the people, he said.
We advise the Vice President to reflect and give the matter a careful thought. Sleep over it. The challenge of meaningful public service necessarily involves a huge burden. Public office is a public trust, he added.
Panelo said the Palace remains optimistic that Robredo would accept the golden opportunity to lead the fight against illegal drugs.
We do not believe that the Vice President is incapable of rising up to the challenge and doing justice to the trust reposed upon her by Filipino people, unless of course she proves us wrong by declining the appointment, he said.
The Vice-President is welcome to the Cabinet. It is a golden opportunity worth taking. This is her moment. She should seize it. Destiny beckons. History awaits her, Panelo said. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency