NOVEMBER 18, 2019 – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Monday raised concerns on the vice president’s request to be given a copy of a list of high-value targets in the anti-illegal drugs campaign, the acting chief of the national police said.
LT Gen. Archie Gamboa said the new co-chair of ICAD must instead focus her attention on the drug war’s advocacy and rehabilitation aspect.
“Would it really matter who are on the list? Kaya nga palagi naming sinasabi, ako I’m already suggesting na anyway the entire ICAD is composed of four different sub-committees,” Gamboa told reporters in Camp Crame, Quezon City.
Gamboa doubted if Vice President Leni Robredo will be unable to fulfill her tasks without having full access to documents and data of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD).
While she is welcome to review the law enforcement campaign, the ICAD which she co-chairs is a collegial body on “policy-making,” Gamboa said.
“Why would the VP not take the advocacy and the rehabilitation? Pasok ‘yung sinasabi niya that the illegal drugs is actually a health problem so probably that can fall on advocacy and rehabilitation,” he furthered.
It was Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chief Aaron Aquino who first disclosed Robredo’s demands in her meeting with the law enforcement cluster on November 14.
“Why do you need a list of high value targets? For what? Unless siya ang mag-ooperate ng high-value target that you need a list,” said Aquino, who also acts as co-chairman of ICAD.
Gamboa said they will adhere to PDEA’s position if they will share a list to Robredo or not.
“Remember, the PDEA is the head of the law enforcement cluster. Whatever the head says, I will always respect it being a member of the law enforcement cluster,” he said.
The PNP and PDEA pledged its full support and cooperation with Robredo following President Rodrigo Duterte’s order designating her in the inter-agency body.
But Aquino earlier said Robredo is bound to fail due to lack of experience and knowledge in terms of law enforcement. Gamboa also said it would be best for her to leave the matter “to those who know it.”
Duterte, meanwhile, threatened to remove her from her new anti-illegal drug czar position if she shares state secrets with foreign individual and entities.
Robredo has been a vocal critic against the controversial “drug war “ due to large numbers of “senseless killings”.
Over 5,500 drug suspects were killed since 2016, the PDEA said, but human rights groups alleged the death toll could be as high as 27,000.