Robredo had no innovations in drug war — DILG exec

Emmanuel Tupas - The Philippine Star
Robredo had no innovations in drug war � DILG exec
DILG Undersecretary for external and legislative affairs Ricojudge Echiverri had this to say on Robredo’s 19-day stint as ICAD co-chair.
The STAR / KJ Rosales

MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo was unable to introduce innovations that would have improved the government’s war on illegal drugs during her stint as co-chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), an official of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said.

DILG Undersecretary for external and legislative affairs Ricojudge Echiverri had this to say on Robredo’s 19-day stint as ICAD co-chair.

“There were no innovations that we could do because we just managed to report to her all the things what we have been doing,” Echiverri said in an interview with “The Chiefs” aired on Cignal TV’s One News on Monday.

The DILG is among the government agencies under the ICAD chaired by the government’s chief anti-narcotics officer, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) director general Aaron Aquino.

According to Echiverri, what Robredo did during her tenure in ICAD was only to emphasize the importance of their mandate in leading the campaign against illegal drugs.

“With or without her, there were no changes, we just continue what we have been doing,” Echiverri said in Filipino.

Had she been given more time, Echiverri said Robredo could have been the bridge for the political opposition to see the government’s actual program against illegal drugs.

“It would at least inform the opposition of what’s happening in the war on illegal drugs vis-a-vis the disinformation that it’s getting,” he said.

The DILG did not disclose sensitive information when they briefed Robredo about the drug war.

In an interview with reporters, DILG spokesman Jonathan Malaya said they mostly discussed with Robredo the government’s community-based rehabilitation system for recovering drug users.

“We gave her a brief update in terms of operations conducted but not those that are confidential,” he said.

Malaya said he has no idea of the revelations Robredo was referring to about the drug war.

“We have no information where it came from,” he said.

Even if she is the second-highest official in the country, Malaya said Robredo can no longer get information on the drug war after she was booted out of ICAD.

‘God first’ in drug war

Sen. Ronald dela Rosa, once considered the architect of the deadly drug war, called on law enforcement officials to “go the extra mile” to win the war on drugs and reminded them to always put God first in all operations to ensure the preservation of individuals’ lives.

Dela Rosa issued the call to encourage the anti-illegal drug operatives to be united in their work. The former police chief, who led the Duterte government’s massive anti-illegal drugs campaign, also underscored the crucial role of the people in efforts to win the “drug war.”

“Let’s strengthen our unity, we have enough government agencies addressing the drug problem, but what matters most is the support and cooperation of every member of the community. What will help us win this war is our united and strong front against illegal drugs,” Dela Rosa said in a mix of English and Filipino.

“And most of all, place God in the center of the war’s conduct, as our detractors continue to portray us as murderers. Let’s show them that we are God-fearing and humane,” he continued.

The neophyte senator added that since the launch of his brainchild Oplan Tokhang, a considerable number of drug dependents have surrendered and quit using illegal substances.

Oplan Tokhang’s progress, according to him, marks the government’s success in its attempt to eradicate illegal drugs.

“Let us stop fooling the people by saying that the drug war is a failure. As far as Filipino standard is concerned, it is successful because of the approval ratings on the drug war and the President,” he added.

Eight in 10 Filipino adults remain satisfied with President Duterte’s war on drugs, according to results of the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey last September. Duterte also polled a 78 percent approval rating, slightly lower than previous results. – With Cecille Suerte Felipe, Paolo Romero

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