The Philippine National Police (PNP) wants Vice President Leni Robredo out of law enforcement matters when it comes to the war on drugs, despite her designation as co-chair of the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD).
PNP officer-in-charge PLtGen Archie Gamboa said he “strongly suggested” that Robredo leave the law enforcement side of the anti-drug campaign to relevant agencies like the PNP and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
“I hope that the Vice President would heed to the suggestion of the [PDEA] Director General [Aaron Aquino] na pagdating sa [when it comes to law enforcement], sana ibigay lang ito sa amin [hopefully, she’ll just leave it to us,]” Gamboa said.
He added that Robredo should focus on improving the strategies of the justice, advocacy and rehabilitation clusters of the ICAD.
“‘Pag sinabi mong ‘wag mangialam [If you say don’t meddle], it’s just like also slapping the President on what he did. So bigyan natin siya ng, bigyan natin si Vice President Robredo ng chance [So let’s give Vice President Robredo a chance], but we suggest, we strongly suggest even on our committees, that she would concentrate on advocacy and rehabilitation,” Gamboa said.
However, he said Robredo should have a say on how law enforcement agencies implement relevant anti-drug policies, just as how she suggested improvements to Oplan Tokhang during the last ICAD meeting.
Robredo’s camp said that the Vice President’s role as ICAD co-chair encompasses all anti-drug efforts of the government.
“General Gamboa should just remember that the President designated the VP to lead all government efforts against illegal drugs, not simply all government efforts on rehabilitation. He should further be reminded that it is far better to communicate these ideas directly to the VP instead of announcing them to media,” Robredo’s spokesperson Barry Gutierrez said.
No list for Robredo
Gamboa also backed Aquino’s move to only present a list of high-value drug targets to Robredo during a closed-door meeting, instead of providing her with an actual copy of the list.
He echoed the PDEA chief’s reasoning that the list should only be provided on a “need to know” basis and that it should only be given to those “capable” in law enforcement matters.
Other members of the ICAD had also admitted to feeling uneasy working with Robredo, the leader of the opposition.
President Rodrigo Duterte has warned Robredo that she may lose her job if she shares classified government information with foreign individuals.
But Robredo on Sunday assured she is already aware that she is not allowed to reveal confidential information to the public.
“Tayo ay magiging transparent as possible sa mga nangyayari para alam ng taong bayan kung anong nangyayari, pero hindi natin ida-divulge ‘yung sensitive information na makakasama sa kampanya,” she said.
[Translation: We will be transparent as possible about developments for the public to know about them, but we will not divulge sensitive information that would compromise the campaign.]
Robredo added that it is within her mandate under Executive Order No. 54 to ensure high-value targets are caught.
“Paano ko mae-ensure na mahuhuli ‘yung high-value targets kung hindi ko nga alam kung ilan ba ‘yung high-value targets and ano ba ‘yung status sa pagtugis ng high-value targets?” she argued.
[Translation: How will I ensure that these high value targets are caught if I do not know how many there are and the status of their pursuit.]