(NOVEMBER 8, 2019) – Newly-appointed drug czar Vice President Leni Robredo said she is more than willing to join law enforcement agents in anti-drug operations, an idea floated by Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Chief Aaron Aquino.
After Friday’s Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) meeting co-chaired by Robredo and Aquino, the latter suggested the idea so that the vice president can have a feel of what is happening on the ground in the anti-drugs campaign.
“Maybe ma’am, I could ask you to join us in one of the operations. I’ll also be there with you para from the planning stage until the conduct of the operations and after the operations. At least, ma-feel mo kung paano talaga ang ginagawa talaga ng law enforcers natin,” Aquino told Robredo, who was beside him during the press briefing.
Aquino also sees it as an opportunity for Robredo to actually point out to law enforcement agencies their lapses and defects in carrying out the operations, instead of basing her assumptions from reports.
“If you are there on the ground, you will see for yourself kung ano talagang nangyayari roon,” Aquino added.
Robredo said she was up to the task: “Maraming salamat, General. Gustung-gusto ko ‘yan,” she said.
The working relationship of the co-chairs were questioned even before the meeting, after Aquino’s previous remark that Robredo was doomed to fail if named the drug czar due to her supposed “inexperience” in the matter.
The vice president, meanwhile, said she assured Aquino not to worry about her after his comments.
“Sabi ko, huwag nang pag-usapan ‘yung mga nasabi before. Kasi ang sadya naman namin para sa meeting na ito is moving forward,” Robredo said.
Robredo also informed Interior Secretary Eduardo Año about her intention to consult with different law enforcement agencies involved in the campaign.
“Kaysa binabasa ko lang ‘yung lahat ng papel, mas malalaman ko ‘yung mga issues on the ground kapag ‘yung kausap ko talaga, ‘yung direktang humaharap doon sa mga kahirapan,” she told.
INDICATORS OF SUCCESS
Robredo said the ICAD had lined up 81 “very detailed” indicators of success of the drug war in the Philippine Anti-Illegal Drugs Strategy (PADS), although she suggested additional metrics.
As for her input, Robredo noted the agency should not just account for the number of surrenderees, but also the outcome.
“I also suggested that the indicators for success were very good, pero ang hiningi ko lang…na magkaroon ng short-term targets,” she said, adding that the targets indicated in the PADS were for the rest of the term until 2022. (Randell Ritumalta/JMF)