DECEMBER 16, 2019 – The vice president on Monday called off making public a report about the government’s anti-illegal drug campaign in deference to the powerful quake that struck Mindanao, where some people died and injured.
In a press briefing, Leni Robredo, who had served as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) for only 19 days, said it was not proper to talk about a report when Filipinos suffer from a destructive earthquake in Mindanao.
But, she showed a copy of a 40-page report she had prepared on how to make the drug war more effective and humane as ICAD co-chair.
“Parang napakamali sa timing na asikasuhin natin ‘yung report sa ICAD, na mayroon pa namang panahon para pag-usapan,” she said.
“Tingin namin, mas mabuti na ang pagtuunan ng pansin ngayon ng lahat ay kung paano tayo makatutulong sa mga victim.”
Robredo also urged the public to help in the relief efforts for the victims of the magnitude 6.9 earthquake that shook Davao region and killed four people.
She said displaced residents need tents, drinking water, and power generators.
“Kahapon, nag-usap usap na kami, nag-form kami ng team dito sa opisina na pupunta roon para magbigay ng relief assistance,” she added.
Earlier in November, Duterte designated the opposition leader to the ICAD after challenging her to lead the government’s drug war which she has criticized as “ineffective.”
The appointment was supposed to last until Duterte’s term ends in June 2022. But it was cut short due to President’s trust issues on Robredo, who had asked for classified information regarding high-profile drug personalities and met with some foreign delegation, including the US embassy anti-drugs officials for consultation.
A day after she was fired by the president, Robredo vowed to show her findings but said no one should feel threatened.
“Walang dapat matakot. Medyo nakakatawa nga na parang ‘yung anticipation nananakot ako. Wala naman tayong tinatakot,” she said.
Robredo was pushing for a “more effective campaign” to avoid “senseless killings” in the campaign.
The police operation has been criticized in the past three years due to alleged extrajudicial killings and for appearing to target only poor communities.
Over 5,500 drug suspects were killed since the drug war was waged in 2016, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency said, but human rights groups alleged the death toll could be as high as 27,000.
In August, the United Nations Human Rights Council voted to approve a resolution filed by Iceland to look into the human rights situation in the Philippines due to the government’s brutal and bloody war on drugs policy. (Karen Macalalad/MM)