(JANUARY 6, 2020) – The Vice President had failed miserably as head of an Inter-Agency Committee on Illegal Drugs (ICAD), the presidential spokesman said on Monday, describing her brief stint in her job as a screw-up.
Salvador Panelo, who is also chief presidential legal counsel, also defended the administration’s three-year drug war policy, insisting it was a success.
“Palagay ko ang failure, ‘yung pag-upo niya,” Panelo told reporters in his regular press briefing. However, he did not elaborate.
“Kung failure ‘yun, ‘di sana ‘yung problema natin sa droga, inabot na siguro ang lahat ng pamilya,” he said referring on the drug war policy that has resulted in nearly 6,000 deaths.
Panelo’s comments came after Leni Robredo made a lengthy report from her stint as ICAD chair for 18 days late last year.
He said Robredo seemed to be talking too much too soon and criticized her report as nothing new to offer.
He said Robredo’s report contained issues being addressed by concerned authorities.
“When she was threatening this report, she implied na mayroon siyang mga nadiskubreng iregularidad na akala mo’y bombang sasabog sa mukha,” he said. “There’s nothing new in what she said.”
In an report earlier, Robredo cited the government’s “lopsided” effort on street-level law enforcement in its anti-drug campaign, which she said effectively lessened the efforts on other aspects such as rehabilitation, reintegration, and advocacy.
Robredo also revealed only one percent of the total amount of shabu and drug money had been contained and intercepted by authorities in the past three years.
Citing PNP’s drug enforcement group data, Robredo said 3,000 kilos of shabu are consumed in the country weekly, or a total of 156,000 kilos a year.
But only 1,344 kilos of shabu had been seized from
January to October 2019, based on Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) records showed, she added. Data for the previous two years were even less — 1,053 kilos in 2017 and 785 kilos in 2018.
“Failure talaga siya [drug war] dahil ‘yung kampanya sa iligal na droga, maraming aspeto ito… [M]asyado lang natutukan ‘yung street-level enforcement,” Robredo said.
However, Panelo said government records had indicated many barangays had been declared drug-free sine the campaign began in 2016.
“Paano mo masasabing failure? Hindi totally eradicated simply because marami pa ring pumapasok. Pero ‘yung mga pumapasok, nahuhuli pa rin natin. Kaya nga hindi tumitigil si Presidente, ‘di ba?” Panelo said.
Panelo said the government might still consider some of her recommendations can be proven to be more beneficial in the overall drug war. (Randell Ritumalta/MM)