VICE President Maria Leonor "Leni" Robredo reported on Monday, January 6, 2020, that the ongoing war on drugs of President Rodrigo Duterte is a failure.
“Our government’s score would be one over 100,” she said in Tagalog.
Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Aaron Aquino described Robredo’s assessment as a “political attack” against Duterte, who appointed Robredo co-chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (Icad) on October 31, 2019.
After accepting the Icad role last November 6, Robredo worked for 18 days with Aquino, the Icad chairman, before Duterte fired her last November 24 after the President said he did not trust her.
The Vice President, who belongs to the opposition Liberal Party, is one of the harshest critics against Duterte’s bloody war on drugs that has killed thousands of drug personalities, who were mostly poor and lived in the slums, and innocent teenagers.
Robredo said the government should focus on the drug lords who continue to supply a large amount of drugs in the country.
In her assessment, Robredo said change remains to be seen in the government’s brutal crackdown against drug trafficking, which started after Duterte started his presidency in June 2016.
Data from the Drug Enforcement Group (DEG) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) show that drug users consume 3,000 kilos of shabu every week, or 156,000 kilos per year, according to Robredo.
The wife of the late interior secretary Jesse Robredo also cited in her report the accomplishments of the PDEA. She said PDEA was able to seize 1,344 kilos of shabu in 2019, 785 kilos in 2018 and 1,053 kilos in 2017.
In the past three years, Robredo said, the PDEA seized 3,182 kilos. This shows that the PDEA had been able to confiscate only two percent of drug users’ consumption.
“From this data, we can see that a change in strategy is needed. This includes stopping the Tokhang and releasing new documents with clearer goals and operational guidelines to prevent the abuses of some in this campaign,” she said.
Robredo suggested the Icad chairmanship be transferred to the Dangerous Drugs Board, which she said knows how to handle the drug situation in the country. (RSR, TPM)