MANILA — Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno on Tuesday rejected allegations made by Vice President Leni Robredo regarding irregularities in the execution of the government’s war on illegal drugs, particularly the so-called “palit-ulo” scheme.
"What palit-ulo? There is no such thing as palit-ulo in the anti-drugs operations of the PNP. I respectfully request the vice president to please corroborate her statement," Sueno said.
In a recorded speech played during a side event of the 60th United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs, Robredo mentioned the so-called "palit-ulo" scheme, in which authorities supposedly arrest a family member in case the original person on the drug list cannot be found.
"They told us of the palit-ulo scheme which literally means exchange heads where the wife or husband or relative of a person in a so-called drug list will be taken if the person himself could not be found," Robredo explained.
Sueno urged Robredo to show evidence backing her claim.
"It would help if Vice President Robredo presents to us solid proof about this so-called ‘palit-ulo’ scheme so we can act on it immediately," he said.
Sueno said the DILG and the Philippine National Police are open to suggestions on how to effectively win the war against illegal narcotics.
Earlier, Robredo’s camp said it sent a letter to Sueno seeking information on the government’s illegal-drug campaign but apparently did not get any response.
In the letter, Robredo sought several records and documents related to the controversial nationwide operation.
“I have been approached by citizens, sectors, and advocates expressing a variety of concerns on the implementation of the administration's anti-drug campaign. These documents will allow me to respond more effectively to the issues that have been raised,” Robredo said in her letter.
Sueno explained that the letter was apparently passed on to undersecretary Catalino Cuy, of the DILG’s public order office, who, in turn, forwarded the request to the PNP.
"Wala namang tinatago ang PNP and, in fact, we have always been transparent about Oplan Tokhang and we have been providing the public regular updates about Tokhang operations through the media," he said.
Sueno added that his office has always been cordial to the Robredo and that he even paid a courtesy call to the her last year to discuss how they can work together to solve congestion at correctional facilities.
PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa denied receiving any letter from Robredo.
Robredo, Dela Rosa added, only requested for a list of deaths under the anti-narcotics campaign, and not for clarification on the PNP's alleged "palit-ulo" scheme.