NOVEMBER 18, 2019 – Vice President Leni Robredo on Monday assured the president she will keep the integrity of state secrets, including all “sensitive information”the confidential list of high-value targets in the campaign against illegal drugs.
Robredo, the leader of the opposition party, has reacted to remarks the president and his allies that she will be removed from her anti-illegal drug czar position if she shares state secrets with foreign individual and entities.
“Iyong assurance naman, lahat na sensitive information, hindi idi-disclose,” Robredo said in a chance interview with reporters before the Senate plenary hearing on her office’s budget for 2020.
Robredo has been a vocal critic against the controversial “drug war “ due to large numbers of “senseless killings”.
She has demanded in “private communications” to law enforcement agencies the list of high-value drug targets last week. But the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency questioned her intentions and made public her requests.
Robredo had met with senior representatives from United States law enforcement agencies and intends to do more talks with other countries to fight the drug problem.
Officials from the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte had expressed concerns she may have shared with these foreign government officials some official secrets.
In a television interview on Saturday, Duterte threatened to fire Robredo as co-chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs following her demand to access all documents regarding the drug war.
Robredo is likewise open to an international probe if authorities fail to stop alleged abuses in the campaign, which killed over 5,500 drug suspects since the start of the Duterte administration.
“She may not realize it but she could be treading on dangerous grounds. It could be an overreach of the granted authority hence the reminder,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said, explaining Duterte’s statement.
Revealing state secrets would also be “damaging” to the welfare of the Filipinos and can be considered as a crime under the Revised Penal Code, he added.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., meanwhile, believed the warning is Duterte’s way of saying Robredo is “now in his complete confidence in his government.”
“No secrets. Total trust. Reciprocate, Leni,” he wrote in Twitter.
Senator Panfilo Lacson, former police national chief, also described the remark as “fair warning.”
“Nobody, not even the second highest official of the land should be allowed to share with anybody, much less a foreign country classified information that could compromise national security,” he said. (Karen Macalalad / MM)