09:59 GMT +314 November 2019
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    FILE - In this Dec. 5, 2016 file photo, Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo answers questions from the media during a news conference following her resignation from her cabinet post under President Rodrigo Duterte in suburban Quezon city, south of Manila, Philippines

    Philippines' Duterte Appoints His Main Political Rival to Oversee Anti-Drug Campaign

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    Asia & Pacific
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    In late October, Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo said in an interview with Reuters that the crackdowns as part of the anti-drug campaign had mainly targeted the poor, as police had been allowed to abuse abuse their power.

    Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed Leni Robredo, the country's vice president and his main political rival, to oversee the ongoing anti-drug campaign.

    The move came after Robredo criticised the campaign, citing the alarming death toll of what has become Duterte's signature policy.

    According to a presidential spokesman, the decision was prompted by the desire to implement a new approach to the anti-drug effort, although Robredo's spokesman said that the move was aimed at making the vice president a scapegoat for the shortcomings of the campaign.

    "If she has been criticising the drug war as ineffective, then there must be ideas on her mind to make it effective", presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said.

    Duterte campaigned on the promise to end drug-related crime in the country. As a follow-up to his election as president in June 2016, he launched a large-scale anti-drug campaign that has led to the death of thousands of people in police anti-drug raids.

    The president has been accused of violating human rights by campaigners and international organisations, who claim that the real death toll of Duterte's drug war vastly exceeds the numbers provided by official statistics. Philippine officials have stressed that the victims were suspected drug dealers who resisted arrest.

    Last year, Duterte revoked his country's membership of the International Criminal Court (ICC) after it launched a preliminary investigation into alleged crimes against humanity.

    Leni Robredo, anti-drug campaign, appointment, Rodrigo Duterte, Philippines
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