Following criticism, Robredo defends drug war report anew

Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo defended the drug war report based on her findings as former co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) after receiving flak from administration allies.

“If they dismiss it as a mere political [attack], it just means they did not read the report,” she said on her radio show on Sunday, January 12.

In her 40-page report, Robredo detailed how the administration failed to curb the illegal drug supply and address the country’s drug problem.

She also cited figures from government agencies, revealing that less than 1% of shabu out of the estimated total consumption in the country had been seized by the government in the past three years.

Malacañang, in response, said the vice president was “just trying to be relevant” with her report.

Meanwhile, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chief Aaron Aquino and Sen. Ronald dela Rosa said her report was a “mere political move.”

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier called Robredo a “colossal blunder” after her report said the government’s anti-illegal drug campaign was a “massive failure.”

Robredo stressed that the opening parts of her report outlined that the creation of ICAD was a correct measure but suggested that the Dangerous Drugs Board be made the lead in the ICAD instead of the PDEA to maximize it.

“Ano yung political doon? Nagsusuggest ako ng mga paraan kung papaano yung ICAD gawing mas responsive. Sinasabi ko nga, tama yung ICAD, maayos yung pagka-form nito (What was political about that? I suggested ways to make ICAD more responsive. I’m reiterating, the ICAD is right, its creation was good),” she said.

Robredo also urged the different ICAD agencies to agree on the numbers that they present to the public after the Philippine National Police claimed that the data she cited in her report were unofficial estimates. This despite the information coming from the national police agency in the first place.

“Iba iba yung datos ng mga ahensiya. Mga ahensya kayo ng gobyerno, puwede magkasundo muna kayo (The data from the agencies are conflicting. You’re all agencies of the government, can you please agree among yourselves first)?” she said.

She added, “Yung mga pag-aaral na ginawa ko, galing din naman sa mga ahensya. Sapat na para makapag-ambag ako tungkol sa mga rekomendasyon (The probe I did, [the information] were from the agencies. They were enough for me to share my recommendations).”

Robredo also lamented being fired from her position as ICAD co-chair.

“I didn’t waste my 18 days. I wish I was given more chances and time so I could’ve done more,” she said.

On October 31, 2019, Robredo was appointed as ICAD co-chair to help PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino in curbing the drug menace. She was fired two weeks later due to alleged “missteps,” such as meeting with foreign personalities and groups that have prejudged the drug war and failing to present new measures to stop the drug proliferation in the country.

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at [email protected].

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