n an interview with TV5, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) director general Aaron Aquino said he was wondering why Robredo would have a need for the narco list in her role as ICAD co-chairperson.
The STAR/File
PDEA bucks sharing narco list with VP: Robredo misinformed on drug source
Romina Cabrera (The Philippine Star) - November 16, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — It is beyond the mandate of Vice President Leni Robredo, as co-chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs, to request for a copy of the list of high-value targets and drug addicts, her ICAD co-chair said yesterday.

In an interview with TV5, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) director general Aaron Aquino said he was wondering why Robredo would have a need for the narco list in her role as ICAD co-chairperson.

“Medyo hindi kami pumapayag dun kasi in the first place, chairman lang siya ng isang committee. It is beyond her mandate na para humingi ng kung ano-anong listahan na tingin ko walang purpose ang listahan na yun (We don’t agree to that because in the first place, she’s just a chairman of one committee. It is beyond her mandate to request for whatever list that I think has no purpose),” Aquino said.

“We need to define our functions as co-chairpersons in ICAD,” he said. “At her level, can she investigate?”

In a separate interview, Aquino said that Robredo would have to give an acceptable reason why she needs a copy of sensitive lists.

“Why are you getting the list of drug addicts? Inisip ko kasi (I was thinking), we are just, she’s just my co-chairperson, just presiding over a committee, that is ICAD. Hindi ko maintindihan (I don’t understand) what is the list for, why is she asking all these things?” he added.

Aquino said that this could just be a misunderstanding as they have just started their co-chairmanship of the ICAD.

He expressed optimism that they could soon be comfortable with each other as heads of the same body.

“Ganun ang nangyayari ngayon (That’s what’s happening now). But in the future we’ll be comfortable with each other. Sa simula lang may hindi pagkakaintindihan (There is some misunderstanding in the beginning),” he added.

Robredo has vowed to sustain the relentless drug war “with the same intensity and vigor,” but with less blood as she seeks some “rethinking” in the administration’s campaign.

 Aquino also debunked her statement that the bulk of drugs being sold in the country came from China.

“I don’t know where the VP got the source of that info. Maybe because she was misinformed, as many people had been talking to her, maybe telling her that the number one source of drugs is China. She is misinformed or misunderstood,” Aquino said.

Robredo on Thursday said that agencies should “look into” reports that most of the supply of illegal drugs came from China, and that even those arrested for drug trade were either Chinese nationals or Filipino-Chinese.

Aquino refuted Robredo’s statement, saying the main source of illegal drugs is the so-called Golden Triangle region covering Laos, Thailand and Myanmar.

The PDEA official added that cocaine mostly comes from South America while party drugs such as ecstasy mainly come from the Netherlands and other European countries.

He noted that Robredo may have misunderstood their presentation during the law enforcement cluster.

Aquino said Robredo may have thought of China because many of the seized illegal drugs were found concealed inside tea bags with Chinese markings and characters, a trademark of the Golden Triangle.

The Golden Triangle syndicate has been tagged in several of the large-volume shabu shipments into the country, the latest of which was the P1.8-billion illegal drugs seized at the Port of Manila in March this year.

AARON AQUINO
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