MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson has advised Vice President Leni Robredo to focus more on reducing the supply of illegal drugs in the country instead of joining an anti-drug operation.
Lacson gave the advice after he met with Robredo on Friday to discuss what she could do in her new role as the co-chairperson of the inter-agency committee on anti-illegal drugs (ICAD), which President Rodrigo Duterte handed to her last week.
The senator said Robredo’s presence in drug stings might compromise the operation due to security protocols as the country’s second-highest official.
Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency director-general Aaron Aquino earlier challenged Robredo to join one of the anti-drug operations, to which she accepted.
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“Sa security pa lang, nakakalat na security niya, mate-telegraph ang operation. But they could make some arrangements paano isasagawa yan,” he told UNTV News in a phone interview.
“Pero from briefing sa jumpoff tapos sa mismong operation, di pwedeng pabayaan mo Bise Presidente ng bansa. Pangalawang pinakamataas na opisyal ng bansa natin, ilalagay mo ang buhay sa alanganin dahil susugod siya roon,” he added.
Lacson, a former chief of the Philippine National Police, said the focus of the drug war has been on the demand side which mostly targets drug users and peddlers on the street.
He pointed out that cutting the supply would make the street value of drugs prohibitive and take down big-time dealers.
“Kapag supply yung focus mo, concentrate mo, unang una magiging prohibitive ang presyo, Pangalawa, siyempre mga big-time drug dealers ang mga mahi-hit mo,” he said.
Lacson also said that further strengthening the process of intelligence gathering against those involved in the narcotics trade would also help in the anti-drug campaign.
He added that during his stint as PNP chief, he maintained close coordination with his foreign counterparts and drug enforcement units in the United States, Australia, Hong Kong, and Macau.
Lacson also said that he gave names of some people who could help Robredo with the law enforcement part of the job but did not elaborate on who these are. – RRD (with details from Nel Maribojoc)