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PNP: Drug war data used by Robredo âwild guessâ
PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said the figure cited by Robredo that around three tons or 3,000 kilograms of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu worth P25 billion are being consumed every week was just an estimate made by police officials during an assessment of the extent of the drug problem in the country sometime last year.
STAR/ File

PNP: Drug war data used by Robredo ‘wild guess’

Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) - January 10, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines —  The data used by Vice President Leni Robredo in her assessment of the administration’s war on drugs as a “massive failure” was based on a “wild guess,” the Philippine National Police (PNP) said the other day.

PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said the figure cited by Robredo that around three tons or 3,000 kilograms of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu worth P25 billion are being consumed every week was just an estimate made by police officials during an assessment of the extent of the drug problem in the country sometime last year.

In the gist of her report on her 18-day stint as co-chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) last November, Robredo described President Duterte’s anti-drug campaign as a “massive failure.”

The Vice President said the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) was able to seize only one percent of the total shabu supply in the past three years, citing the PNP’s assessment.

Banac, however, told “The Chiefs” on Cignal TV’s One News that the figure stemmed from one of their planning sessions where they made a ballpark figure that a drug user consumes about 0.15 grams of shabu per session.

Police officials then came up with a theory that a drug user consumes shabu twice a day and there are about three million users in the country.

“It’s even conservative compared with the estimate of the PDEA,” Banac said, referring to a survey by the agency in 2016, which pegged the number of drug users at four million.

PDEA spokesman Derrick Arnold Carreon said conducting a survey on drug use is difficult as in most cases, nobody will admit that they are users or pushers.

Banac explained that there is no way of telling the exact amount of shabu and other illegal drugs in the country.

“Nobody can really tell, that’s why we just had a discussion to really have an appreciation on how big the problem is,” he said.

The police official contradicted Robredo’s assessment, noting that there are no more big clandestine shabu laboratories in the country since the President assumed office on June 30, 2016.

For Carreon, drug syndicates continue to smuggle narcotics in the country, but law enforcement officials are doing everything to address the problem.

“They will smuggle and manufacture if and when the situation permits,” he said.

Leila agrees with Leni

Robredo has a deep understanding of the real situation of the drug menace in the country as indicated by the actionable recommendations she submitted to the Duterte administration to improve its campaign against the use and proliferation of illegal drugs in the country, Sen. Leila de Lima said yesterday.

De Lima made the remarks after Robredo presented a 40-page report containing her findings and recommendations to the government as a result of her 18-day stint as ICAD co-chair.

The senator pointed out that the Vice President’s report showed that the latter has a deep understanding of the real situation of the drug menace in the country.

“VP Leni’s ICAD Report is a well-researched, data-driven and completely objective look on the President’s war on drugs. She cited existing government data and based her conclusions on credible authorities,” De Lima said.

“Her further statements and responses during the press conference on Jan. 6 reveal a deep grasp of the real drug situation, including the gaps and shortcomings in the bureaucratic structures and strategies,” she added.

Last Monday, Robredo gave the administration a failing score in its ongoing war on drugs that has killed thousands of suspected drug offenders, mostly poor.

De Lima, a known critic of the administration’s anti-illegal drugs campaign, also called out presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo for trying to discredit Robredo and her report despite not having any knowledge of its contents.

“It is hypocritical of Panelo to dismiss VP Leni because she didn’t take part in any ground operations during her 18-day stint when not even the President did so in all of his three and a half years in office,” De Lima said.

“That is precisely what is wrong with this government: all politics and bluster, no substance,” she added.

De Lima, the first lawmaker who initiated a Senate investigation into the human rights abuses under the war on drugs, also pointed out that Robredo’s report is proof that the Filipino public suffers in the implementation of the anti-drug campaign.

“In too much policticking, the data were ignored. In setting aside the truth on the war on drugs, the drug lords win, the Filipino people lose,” the senator said in Filipino.

“A failure, indeed!” she added.  – With Cecille Suerte Felipe

BERNARD BANAC LENI ROBREDO
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