Can a new drug czar stop the killing?
Malaya Business Insight
Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo has bravely accepted President Rodrigo Duterte’s dare, said Abigail Valte. An opposition leader, Robredo has infuriated Duterte with her constant criticism of his brutal drug war. Up to 27,000 people have been killed in the campaign, many summarily executed by police. Earlier this month, Duterte sarcastically suggested Robredo be made drug czar, saying, “She’ll be famous. I couldn’t do it; maybe she can.” Many of us saw a trap, assuming Robredo would be undermined by state agencies and then blamed for her inevitable failure. We waited for her answer like viewers of a horror movie, “silently willing the protagonist not to open the door with the monster behind it.” But Robredo accepted, saying she wanted to stop the slaughter and treat addicted Filipinos not as criminals but as patients in need of care. She is right that Duterte’s violent approach isn’t just illegal but also incompetent: When he took office in 2016 there were some 2 million addicts; now there are up to 7 million. And while Robredo knows that Duterte’s rabid supporters won’t ever give credit to her achievements, she has set her own goal: “If I could save at least one innocent life, my principles and heart are telling me I should give this a try.” Surely Filipinos can support that cause.