duterte robredo
This file photo shows Vice President Leni Robredo (L) and President Rodrigo Duterte (R).
The STAR/Krizjohn Rosales

Detractors 'didn't read the report': Robredo defends ICAD findings

Franco Luna (Philstar.com) - January 12, 2020 - 5:16pm

MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday defended the report she published earlier this week outlining her thoughts and recommendations for the anti-narcotics campaign of the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-illegal Drugs.

READ: 'Change strategy': Robredo wants 'Tokhang' scrapped, gov't to go after drug lords

Almost immediately after the publication of the vice president's report came a tumult of outrage from administration allies. The Palace pointed to her inexperience, saying she was "just trying to be relevant," while President Rodrigo Duterte himself called the vice president a "colossal blunder."

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chief Aaron Aquino and Sen. Ronald dela Rosa also slammed Robredo's report as a "mere political move" after the vice president called the president's anti-drug campaign a failure. 

READ: 'Trying to be relevant': Palace slams Robredo over report, short ICAD tenure

"Pag sinabi mong political, hindi mo binasa yung report," Robredo said on her radio show. 

"Yung presidente mismo ang nagsabi na failure ang drug war."

The vice president emphasized that the opening parts of her report outlined that the creation of ICAD was a correct measure but was also one that wasn't being maximized. 

What's political about it?

She also recommended in her report that the Dangerous Drugs Board be made the lead in the ICAD instead of the PDEA.

"Ano yung political doon? Nagsusuggest ako ng mga paraan kung papaano yung ICAD gawing mas responsive. Sinasabi ko nga, tama yung ICAD, maayos yung pagka-form nito."

Duterte, too, brought politics into the fray when he announced he would limit the information available to the vice president on a "need to know" basis, saying he did not trust her because she was part of the opposition.

Robredo in her radio show also addressed claims by the Philippine National Police belying the data she employed in her study as unofficial estimates despite indeed coming from the national police agency. 

One of the main claims of the vice president in her report was that the data used to back up claims in the drug war was often conflicting. 

READ: Robredo points out 'inconsistent' government data on 'drug war'

"Iba iba yung datos ng mga ahensiya. Mga ahensya kayo ng gobyerno, puwede magkasundo muna kayo?" she said.

These claims came after presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said the data was wrong, to begin with, despite their coming from the PNP. 

"Yung mga pag-aaral na ginawa ko, galing din naman sa mga ahensya. Sapat na para makapag-ambag ako tungkol sa mga rekomendasyon," she said. 

"Kung hindi tama iyon, bakit mo sasabihin sa isang press conference? Kung hindi ka sigurado, wag mo i-make public. Dahil nagkagulo-gulo na, parang ang nilalag-lag nila ngayon, sarili nilang datos."

READ: PNP: 'Three tons of shabu a week' estimate came from police but was 'theoretical, hypothetical'

Rule of law is alive?

Even the international community has slammed the ongoing war on drugs of the Duterte administration. On Thursday, the US Senate passed a resolution that called for sanctions on "members of the security forces and officials of the Government of the Philippines responsible for extrajudicial killings" among others. 

The resolution passed also invoked the Global Magnitsky Act, which gives the United States government the power to impose financial sanctions 

Malacañang has consistently said that extrajudicial killings are not state policy.

In multiple briefings, Panelo also stressed that democracy is flourishing and that the rule of law is alive and well.

READ: Duterte's offer for Leni not an admission that drug war failed — Panelo

The PNP has acknowledged the deaths of over 5,500 "drug personalities" who they say fought back in official police operations.

Yet activist groups and international organizations alike have said that the death toll is as high as 27,000, a claim that the administration staunchly contests. 

"Hindi ko sinayang yung 18 days. Sana binigyan ako ng mas maraming pagkakataon at mas maraming oras para mas marami yung aking naiambag," Robredo said. 

RELATED: The War on Drugs: In-depth reports and analyses on the government's bloody anti-narcotics campaign

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