leni robredo
Vice-President Leni Robredo (R) attends a press conference with Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chief Aaron Aquino in Manila on Nov. 8, 2019.
AFP/Maria Tan
Lacson: VP and anti-drug czar Robredo should have access to high-value targets list
(Philstar.com) - November 19, 2019 - 10:55am

MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo, the country’s anti-drug czar, must be given access to classified information, including the list of high-value targets, so she can effectively perform her duties, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said Tuesday.

Robredo early this month accepted Duterte’s offer to co-lead his controversial war on drugs. She was appointed co-chairperson of the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-illegal Drugs, or ICAD.

But Local Government Undersecretary Ricojudge Echiverri earlier said that agencies are apprehensive about sharing information with Robredo because she is a member of the opposition.

“Kung hindi niya alam kung sino yung nasa high-value target list, and then how could she (Robredo) proceed in the first place?” Lacson said in an interview with CNN Philippines.

“Being the second-highest official, I think she has the necessary security clearance to handle and she knows the consequences in case she shares it with unauthorized persons,” Lacson added.

Robredo on Sunday addressed apprehensions from agencies about sharing sensitive information with her, saying she knows she needs to keep them confidential.

But she said it is up to the member-agencies of the ICAD if they want to cooperate and that she would not force them to do so.

Robredo added that the request to Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency to provide her information on high-value targets—a term used for big-time drug suspects—was done privately in a letter to PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino, who has said that he does not understand why the vice president would need that information.

Duterte said Saturday that Robredo could lose her post at the inter-agency panel if she leaks sensitive information.

In the same television interview, Lacson said administration officials’ “reservations” were valid as Robredo belongs to the opposition.

“Kaya nga mabuti rin na there’s a reminder from the president himself that she could be fired,” the lawmaker said.

“I think that’s a fair reminder but of course that should be qualified by the fact that the vice president knows or should know how to handle classified information,” he added.

Police say more than 7,000 who resisted arrest have been killed since Duterte launched his deadly narcotics crackdown — a far cry from rights groups' estimate that pegs drug-related fatalities at 27,000. — Ian Nicolas Cigaral

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