She gave the assurance to members of the law enforcement cluster of the Interagency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs during a meeting on Thursday. Robredo co-chairs the ICAD with Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief Aaron Aquino.
The STAR/Boy Santos, file
No ill intent in request for drug war docs – Robredo
Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - November 16, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — There is no hidden agenda behind her request for more information about the government’s deadly campaign against illegal drugs, according to Vice President Leni Robredo.

She gave the assurance to members of the law enforcement cluster of the Interagency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs during a meeting on Thursday. Robredo co-chairs the ICAD  with Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief Aaron Aquino.

“I assured them that my request for information is not to ghost-hunt,” she told reporters after the meeting, referring to the leadership of the Philippine National Police (PNP). “[It is] just so I know where to start, what is the baseline.”

She explained that seeing the full picture of what happened in the past three years would prevent a repeat of the problems that beset the previous implementation of the anti-illegal drug campaign.

“The (PNP) leadership was very cooperative. Actually, they reiterated their support, they reiterated that if there are data that we need or have to be clarified, they are open to providing that,” she added.

Robredo also said she will let concerned agencies conduct their own internal cleansing and not waste her time “ghost hunting.”

“We are returning to the agencies the responsibility to… clean their own institutions,” she said. “We are looking for ways of moving forward because we really do not have much time.”

Earlier, Interior Undersecretary for external and legislative affairs Ricojudge Echiverri expressed reservations on the release of the drug war data to Robredo.

The information may be used against the police, he said in an interview with The Chiefs aired on Cignal TV’s One News on Wednesday.

Among the information that the Vice President is requesting for are those that involve the deadly police operations that claimed the lives of thousands of suspects who allegedly fought back at law enforcement personnel.

Commission on Human Rights (CHR) chairman Chito Gascon earlier said they would request for access to such information from ICAD now that it is co-chaired by Robredo.

It is unclear if the Vice President would allow the release of such information to the CHR, with her spokesman Barry Gutierrez saying they have yet to receive any official request from the human rights body. Gutierrez said they are open to meeting with the CHR to discuss the matter.

Following her meeting with the ICAD law enforcement cluster, Robredo said she already received some information that she had requested, although she did not elaborate.

The data that she has, however, are still incomplete, according to the Vice President.

Robredo has repeatedly stressed the need to establish the baseline data to determine the full extent of the illegal drug problem.

“It is difficult to get it because there are a lot of agencies that each has their own list. There are lists in the barangays, in some local government units, PDEA and PNP,” she said.

“Gathering, harmonizing and vetting these take a lot of time already. But for me, it is really about time to have a common baseline… because it is different to measure (the status of the campaign) if we are talking about different lists,” she added. She said they hope to complete the data by the end of the year.

AARON AQUINO
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