Robredo wants clear PH drug war baseline data by yearend

Robie de Guzman   •   November 14, 2019   •   114

FILE PHOTO: Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday asked agencies comprising the law enforcement cluster of the inter-agency committee on anti-illegal drugs (ICAD) to produce by year-end a clear set of data on the government’s campaign against illegal drugs.

Robredo, who now co-leads ICAD, said this topic was among the key points discussed in her meeting with ICAD’s law enforcement cluster on Thursday morning.

“Ang unang na-highlight is as of now, walang clear baselines, so iyon ‘yung pinagtatrabahuhan. Mayroon nang efforts to do that. Iyon ang unang agreement na tapusin na iyong baselines, until the end of the year,” the vice president told reporters in an interview after the meeting.

“’Yong aming target until the end of the year, mayroon nang linaw. I think DILG would need more time to finish the information system, pero ipi-present nila sa amin on Tuesday,” she further stated.

The baseline data she is talking about refers to the number of drug users and drug dependents at the start of the campaign in 2016, as well as of surrenderers, arrested individuals, and the users undergoing rehabilitation.

Robredo stressed that having a clear set of data is important in dealing with the country’s drug problem. It will also be used to gauge the campaign’s accomplishments.

She also noted that government agencies have different drug war numbers.

“May listahan iyong barangay, may listahan iyong ibang local government units, may listahan iyong PDEA, may listahan iyong PNP. So just to harmonize all the lists,” she said.

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Ricojudge Echiverri agreed with Robredo, adding that the lists submitted by some local officials are also laced with politics.

“Hindi maiiwasan yung mga barangay, imbis na ang ibigay na listahan yung mga totoo ay nilagay nila sa listahan yung mga kalaban nila sa pulitika. So, ibii-vet pa yun ng PNP at PDEA,” he said.

Echiverri also revealed cases where some local officials provide erroneous information on drug war which does not help at all as a basis for crafting an anti-drug strategy.

“Kasi ngayon po kahit kasuhan namin sila, ano legal basis? Wala, so pag nalaman nilang walang basis eh di, wala na lang, gawin ulit,” he added.

Aside from having no centralized information system on the campaign, Robredo also identified some problems in the detention of drug users and dealers along with other detainees such as in the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).

“Kahit sa BJMP, ‘yung mga detention prisoners, nahahalo ‘yung accused of drug use sa mga hindi accused of drug use, nagkakaroon ng hawaan,” she said.

To address this, Robredo recommended the creation of a technical working group (TWG) to tackle and draft proposed measures to help improve the government’s war on drugs.

“Hopefully, by early next week meron nang TWG na before the end of the year, ang target ko nga when I get invited to the House committee on dangerous drugs, ma-present na ‘yung hinihingi na tulong from Congress,” she said.

Next week, Robredo plans to meet with the DILG, Department of Health and the Dangerous Drugs Board to discuss more on their ongoing programs in line with the anti-illegal drug campaign. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Vincent Arboleda)

Duterte calls Robredo a ‘colossal blunder’ for her drug war report

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 8, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte slammed Vice President Leni Robredo for her anti-drug war failure remark and called her a “colossal blunder”.

“You know, for all of these years, she has done nothing. She is a colossal blunder,” Duterte said.

The chief executive also slammed the election results saying, “You know, I hate to say this, but how many voters are there in the Philippines? And you just do away with the 200,000 plus that she got as a majority over Marcos. It was really a mistake. With a slim margin and you talk big.”

Robredo, on Monday (January 6) released a report and recommendations on the government’s war on drugs. She also called the government’s drug war a “failure” which gained backlash from the Palace, lawmakers, and the President.

Based on her report, only 1% of illegal drugs were seized by authorities from 2016 to 2018. She also recommended that the chairmanship of ICAD be transferred from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB).

The president said Robredo cannot lecture him since she has only been a co-chair of the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-illegal Drugs (ICAD) for 18 days.

“If ever she becomes president, gawin niya iyon (she should do it). Pero (but) she can’t lecture me what to do,” he said. “As a lawyer lecturing on me, well, she should revisit her record I suggest.”—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

PNP reiterates drug war successful, Robredo’s figures ‘totally wrong’

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 7, 2020

The Philippine National Police (PNP) reiterated that the government’s war on drugs is a success, contrary to the figures reported by Vice President Leni Robredo.

PNP Officer-in-Charge Archie Gamboa said the campaign against illegal drugs was one hundred percent successful; this was after Robredo called the drug war unsuccessful during her report on Monday (January 6).

“Whether her numbers are merely an estimate or the exact value, in any case, the figure derived is totally wrong,” Gamboa said.

Gamboa also said that since 2016, they already destroyed 14 clandestine drug laboratories and 419 drugs dens.

The PNP had also confiscated around P40.39 billion worth of illegal drugs. These include 5.1 tons of shabu, 2.3 tons of marijuana, 500 kilos of cocaine, and over 42,000 pieces of the party drug, ecstasy.

Authorities have also arrested 220,728 individuals in 2016, with 8,185 high value targets.

Gamboa also reported that 5,552 drug personalities and 55 policemen were killed during illegal drug operations. Meanwhile, a total of 16,706 barangays are drug-free.

Gamboa said Robredo’s appreciation of statistics in her report was not mathematically acceptable. He also said that her 18 days as the co-chairman in the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) was not enough for her to provide estimates of the totality of the illegal drug campaign.

“Ang ginawa niya kin-quote niya iyong PDEG (What she did was, she quoted the PDEG) [Philippine National Police Drug Enforcement Group] that there are three tons of consumption per week for the drug problem of the Philippines and then in-equate niya ito sa drug recovered (then she equated it with the drugs recovered),” he said.

“Iyong appreciation niya doon sa statistics na iyon is wrong. Kung ganiyan ang appreciation niya (Her appreciation of the statistics is wrong. If that is her appreciation) it’s quite risky because if you have little knowledge that you present it could be very risky,” Gamboa added.

Meanwhile, the PNP official said despite the success of the government’s drug war, regional directors and head of national support units are doubling their efforts in the government’s war on drugs, terrorism, criminality, and corruption.—AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

Palace on VP Robredo’s anti-drug report: ‘Nothing new’

Marje Pelayo   •   January 6, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo criticized Vice President Leni Robredo’s revelations of what she claimed as her discovery during her short stint as the anti-drug czar.

In response to her press briefing Monday (January 6), the Palace said it was Robredo who failed as the co-chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), and not the Duterte Administration’s campaign against illegal drugs.

“Palagay ko ang failure ay ang pag-upo niya (I think the real failure is when she took the post),” Panelo said.

Robredo spent only 18 days in the ICAD before President Rodrigo Duterte dismissed her from the position due to a lack of trust.

As for the figures that the Vice President divulged before the press, the Palace official said they were wrong and all anti-drug law enforcement agencies could attest to that.

Panelo argued that in comparison to Robredo, the President has unlimited resources when it comes to the government’s war on drugs as compare to her who knows nothing about the campaign.

“I think she just wants to be relevant,” Panelo said.

“It’s a dud. Wala naman siyang sinabing bago na hindi tinututukan ng mga ahensya na involved sa laban droga (There was nothing new with what she said that anti-drugs agencies didn’t address. There’s nothing new in what she said),” Panelo concluded. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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