War on drugs continues even without Robredo, police say

Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo

PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) spokesperson Brigadier General Bernard Banac said on Monday, November 25, that the termination of Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni" Robredo as the co-chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (Icad) will not affect the crackdown on illegal drugs.

"Hindi naman ito nakakaapekto sa patuloy na kampanya laban sa ilegal na droga lalo na 'yung pagtugis sa high-value targets," Banac said in a press conference.

(This does not affect our campaign against illegal drugs, especially the pursuit of high-value targets.)

"Makakaasa ang ating mga kababayan na patuloy na magiging relentless at walang tigil ang ating laban sa mga high-value targets alinsunod sa batas at procedures at paggalang sa karapatang pangtao," he added.

(Our countrymen can rest assured that our campaign against high-value targets will be relentless according to the rule of law and with respect for human rights.)

Banac also said the PNP did not see any violation committed by Robredo during her brief stint as the Icad co-chair.

"Wala naman tayong nakita na, o wala naman tayong natanggap na mga ulat na may mga ganitong bagay,” he said.

(We did not see any violation nor did we receive any reports on this.)

Meanwhile, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director Aaron Aquino, who is the chairperson of the Icad, said he respects and believes in the wisdom of President Rodrigo Duterte in making such decision.

“Whatever happens, PDEA will continue to carry out its mandate to rid the country of illegal drugs with utmost sincerity and integrity,” he said.

On Sunday, November 24, Malacañang announced the termination of the services of Robredo as Icad co-chairperson.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte made the move in response to the suggestion of Liberal Party President, Senator Francis Pangilinan to just fire her from the post after the President said he did not trust her.

It had only been a little more than two weeks since Duterte appointed Robredo to the said position.

Last week, Duterte criticized Robredo for reportedly meeting with foreign counterparts to seek assistance for the ongoing drug war.

He warned her against revealing “state secrets” to the international community after she asked for access to the list of the government’s high-value targets. (SunStar Philippines)