November 17, 2019 — Vice President Leni Robredo has stressed the need to obtain the list of high-value drug targets and ensure the arrest of drug syndicates as she takes on the lead in government’s anti-illegal drugs campaign.
Robredo, who sits as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) with Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Chief Aaron Aquino, said on her weekly radio program she won’t be able to fulfill her tasks if she doesn’t have access to documents and data related to the government’s campaign against illegal drugs.
“Paano ko ma-e-ensure nang hindi ko nga alam? Paano ko ito ma-e-ensure na nahuhuli iyong mga high-value targets, kung hindi ko nga alam kung ilan ba ang high-value targets?” Robredo said on Sunday morning.
“Ano ba iyong status doon sa pagtugis ng mga high-value targets, ano ba iyong available na impormasyon? Nasaan ba iyong kakulangan? Kasi, obviously, kulang na kulang,” she added.
Under Executive Order No. 15 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte, ICAD should “ensure the effective conduct of anti-illegal drug operations and arrest of high-value drug personalities down to the street-level peddlers and user.”
In the same interview, Robredo said she requested the list from PDEA
through a “private” communication and that Aquino’s decision to disclose it to media was inappropriate.
“Hindi nga namin ini-announce sa media na humihingi kami nito. Nasa private communication ito, copy furnished iyong mga law enforcement agencies para magkaroon kami ng maayos na database,” She said.
“Imbes na sagutin tayo, sagutin iyong ating sulat, sumagot sa media.”
Law enforcement agencies have been reporting tend of thousands of drug personalities had been arrested or surrendered.
But top ranked drug traffickers and suppliers, mostly from foreign syndicates, continued to elude arrests, including Peter Lim.
Close to 6,000 people had been killed in police anti-illegal drugs operations when they chose to shoot it out with undercover law enforcers but only a few were considered top suppliers and dealers.
Billions of pesos worth of narcotics had been seized but few leaders had been arrested and supply continued to flood the streets with shabu.
The killings led Robredo to conclude the drug war campaign was ineffective and needed a re-assessment.
Her comments prompted Duterte to appoint her as ICAD co-chair for three years.
Robredo also announced she is due to meet with ambassadors of Japan, Australia, and Thailand for collaboration in battling illegal drugs. (Juno Buena/TGC)