Robredo to push for transparency as anti-drugs drive co-chair — spokesperson

Robredo to push for transparency as anti-drugs drive co-chair � spokesperson
Vice President Leni Robredo delivers her speech as she accepts her designation as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Illegal Drugs on November 6, 2019.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — Aside bringing justice to those who died in the government’s campaign against illegal drugs, Vice President Leni Robredo will push for transparency as co-chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Illegal Drugs, her spokesperson said.

Barry Gutierrez, who is also Robredo’s legal adviser, said the vice president wanted to bring justice to those “unjustly killed” as she takes on her new role in the committee responsible for overseeing the crackdown.

“So that means those police officers currently being investigated, those police officers who have actually been charged in connection with unlawful deaths in the conduct of drug war. Well, these cases should be fast tracked and it should be ensured that they be held accountable,” Gutierrez told ABS-CBN News Channel Friday. 

Gutierrez added he would “not be surprised” if Robredo makes drug war documents available to the public.

“The vice president has always been strong proponent of transparency in governance,” he said.

Last September, the Center for International Law sked the Supreme Court to cite the Office of the Solicitor General and police officers for submitting “rubbish” and non-drug related files.

Her spokesperson also said that being completely transparent is the best way to deal with criticisms from other countries and international organizations.

“The general sentiment of the vice president is she wants transparency and she has always made it clear and she has gone on record as saying that the best way to deal with criticisms whether internal and external is for government to be completely transparent as to what it is doing,” Gutierrez said.

At least 6,847 drug personalities have been slain in anti-narcotics operations since Duterte assumed office in mid-2016, according to government figures.

But the figure is significantly lower than the estimates by human rights watchdogs of as many as 27,000 killed.

Robredo on Wednesday accepted her appointment as co-chair of ICAD, a position feared by her allies as a “trap.”

Under Executive Order 15, which created ICAD, the co-chair position does not even exist.

Gutierrez said the vice president expects full cooperation from the members of the committee.

“She will expect full support from the Palace, who in fact, extended to her this designation in the first place and she will push for these directions, she will push for these initiatives up until such point where they tell her she can’t do it,” he said. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

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