Helping VP Leni
President Duterte has formally offered Vice-President Leni Robredo the post to be the co-chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD). This means that she would share with Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief Aaron Aquino the task of the anti-drug czar. Many people doubt the sincerity of the administration in this offer. It may be Duterte’s way of washing his hands at the failure of his own version of anti-drug campaign. It may even be a way to show to the people how incapable VP Leni is, because to stop the drug problem is an impossible task in such a short time. The government may even block her efforts along the way to prevent her from making any headway. There is so much mistrust in this government that people cannot help but make conjectures.
VP Leni is well aware of the problems, as she herself stated in her acceptance speech. She said she is ready for all these just to stop the killings of the current model of drug war. In this her purpose is laudable; each human life is important. Furthermore, it should be clear by now, after two and a half years of killings of lowly people, having victimized about 6,000 people (according to police accounts, but more than 20,000 people according to several studies), that this violent mode is not working. Drugs are still in our streets. Killing is not the solution!
The Vice President deserves the support of everyone if the drug problem is to be addressed in a holistic way. It is a health issue, a poverty issue, an education issue, an employment and livelihood issue, a corruption and good governance issue, and also a police issue. Now is the time for those who criticized the killings to come out to contribute to solve the drug problem. I think we all agree that there is a big drug problem in our country. Now let us put our acts together since we have a person in charge who is ready to listen and to enlist the contributions of all, and is not bent only on a narrow one-sided view that the drug problem is just a criminal issue.
Helping and supporting VP Leni in this urgent task, however, does not mean that we will go all along with this administration, and not even with all that she would do. We remain vigilant that human rights and human life are respected. We always demand accountability and those who do wrong should be made to answer for their misdeeds as the law provides. We support the program and we work for the common good, and are not to be blinded by loyalty to persons. As always, we are guided by the principle of critical collaboration. We work together and support what is for the good. This means that the aim is good and the means are good. But when something that is abusive and untruthful is done, we criticize and denounce. No loyalty to persons. We serve God alone, thus we serve what is good, what is just and what is true!
(Guest editorial by Bishop Broderick Pabillo)