Editorial: High-value target list

THIS is clear as day. Executive Order 15, which created the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (Icad), states in Letter A of Section 2: “Ensure the effective conduct of anti-illegal drug operations and arrest of high-value drug personalities down to the street-level peddlers and users.”

Unless Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Director-General Aaron Aquino is boggled by bogeys, the mandate is very clear: “Arrest of high-value drug personalities.”

What a barrage of blah was it when he said Icad co-chair Vice President Leni Robredo is in no position to get hold of the list of high-value targets? “Bakit kailangan niya in the first place... Wala naman sa mandate namin ’yun... Why is she asking all these things? (Why does she need it in the first place...That’s not in the mandate...).”

Darting into the free-throw line to make a grand gesture of “tapal,” Interior Undersecretary Ricojudge Echiverri issued what sounded like a warning to Robredo, “Kung may malaman na impormasyon, sana ay walang laglagan.” Pretty much shameless and out-of-order for an appointee, undersecretary at that, to be saying that to the country’s second highest official.

These old boys are forgetting who they are dealing with, and what bulk of the populace had thrust Robredo into officialdom. The Vice President has perfect measure of support from the Filipino people via an election turnout. What does Aquino and Echiverri have?

Inherent in an appointment is the assumption of trust, that one immediately assumes a moral obligation to abide by the rules, in the case of being in the Icad, to EO 15.

Never mind the executive mouthpiece Salvador Panelo, a classic chameleon as far as shifting statements are concerned. One moment, he said Robredo should have “access” to information as the President’s “alter ego,” and later warned the VP from getting classified data in relation to the drug war. Or dismiss another baloney by House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano who said he doesn’t subscribe to the idea of body cameras on cops out in anti-illegal drug operations. These jesters are out to steal the show.

Meantime, the Vice President can always evoke provisions in EO 15 as her best arguments against the clamming up of what seemed like an Icad conventicle. Too bad she has to contend with these bunch of people as she wages her version of the drug war. Her judgment must be fully informed, the high-value target list included, by solid data.