Palace says Robredo's report a 'dud'
MANILA — The government's 3-year anti-narcotics drive seized less than 1 percent of the total shabu supply that flooded the country, Vice President Leni Robredo claimed Monday, as she called for changes in the campaign that she briefly led last year.
Citing police data, Robredo said around 3,000 kilos of shabu is consumed in the country every week or around 156,000 kilos per year.
Data from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency showed it only seized 1,344 kilos shabu from January to October, 2019; 785 kilos in 2018; and 1,053 kilos in 2017, she said.
Robredo added that according to police estimate, around P1.3 trillion worth of shabu circulate in the country every year. However, law enforcement only apprehended P1.4 billion worth of drugs, she said.
"Malinaw na malinaw na ayon mismo sa opisyal na datos, sa kabila ng lahat ng Pilipinong pinatay at lahat ng perang ginasta, hindi lumampas sa 1 porsyento ang naipit natin sa supply ng shabu at sa perang nakita mula sa droga," the Vice President told reporters.
(It is very clear that based on official data, despite the deaths of Filipinos and the money spent, the confiscated shabu supply and drug money was below 1 percent.)
"Isipin na lang natin kung exam ito. Magiging iskor ng ating pamahalan ay 1 over 100," she added.
(Let's just imagine if this were an exam. Our government would have scored 1 over 100.)
Robredo also questioned the confusion over the actual numbers of drug users in the country, which President Rodrigo Duterte recently pegged at 7 to 8 million, higher than the ICAD's estimate of around 4 million.
"It is alarming because there are different interventions for users and pushers. Dahil hindi maayos ang datos, naghahalo-halo lahat (because the data is not in order, they mix up)," she said.
Duterte in November 2019 tapped Robredo as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), only to fire her after 18 days due to alleged missteps, including a meeting with UN officials supposedly critical of the campaign.
PALACE: IT'S A DUD
Malacañang meanwhile dismissed Robredo's long-overdue report as a "dud," and belied her claims that the drug war is a failure.
"It's a dud. Wala naman siyang sinabi doon na bago na hindi tinututukan ng mga ahensiya na involved sa laban sa droga. There's nothing new with what she said," Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo told reporters in Malacañang.
(Everything that she said is already being attended to by government agencies involved in the drug war.)
"I think she just wants to be relevant," he added.
Panelo instead insisted on the success of the government's anti-narcotics drive.
"Eh kung failure 'yun, eh 'di sana 'yung problema natin sa droga inabot na sana lahat ng pamilya. The fact remains that we have dismantled so many illegal drug factories," he said.
(If it's a failure then the drug problem should have affected all families.)
"Ang problema kasi, ilang araw lang siya (Robredo) naupo doon ang dami na niyang sinasabi wala naman siyang expertise," he added.
(The problem is she thinks she's already an expert even if she only held the post for a few days.)
PLEA FOR DUTERTE
Robredo called on Duterte to lead the National Anti-Illegal Drug Task Force, which was created by the same executive order that formed ICAD some 2 years ago.
"Hanggang ngayon, mahigit 2 taon na ang lumipas, wala pa ring aksyon mula sa Pangulo. Hindi co-chair ang kailangan ng ICAD, ang kailangan nito ay ang pagtutok ng Pangulo," she said.
"Tinawag na giyera ang problema sa ilegal na droga, kailangan ang Pangulo ang maging commander-in-chief nito."
(Until now, 2 years have passed, there is no action yet from the President. The ICAD does not need a co-chair, it needs focus from the President. The problem with illegal drugs was dubbed as war, the President needs to be its commander-in-chief.)
Robredo also pushed for the ICAD's chairmanship to be transferred to the Dangerous Drugs Board from the PDEA, claiming that it neglected other aspects of the drug war by focusing on apprehending street-level drug peddlers.
Panelo earlier criticized Robredo for postponing the release of her report on the war on drugs in deference to the victims of the magnitude 6.9 earthquake in Mindanao.
But in a recent media interview, Panelo was quoted as saying that Duterte was willing to work again with Robredo as long as she would be a "team player."
"Ano iyong definition mo ng teamwork?" the Vice President said when asked to react on Panelo's statement.
"Iyong teamwork ba, iyong 'pag may nakikita kang mali, pipikit ka na lang? Para sa akin, iyong teamwork, 'pag tama, tumulong pero 'pag mali, kailangan sabihin mo para ma-correct," she said.
(What's your definition of teamwork? Does it mean that if you see something wrong, you'll just close your eyes? For me, teamwork means helping if it's right and speaking out if it's wrong so it ca be corrected.)
A recent Social Weather Stations survey showed that 8 in 10 Filipinos are satisfied with drugs, with the reduction of drug suspects as their most commons reason.
A total of 220,728 drug suspects were arrested while 5,582 were killed from July 2016 to November 2019, according to the PDEA and PNP.
Human rights groups accuse the police of systematic executions and cover-ups in its drug war, which the government rejects.
The UN Human Rights Council in July approved a resolution to investigate the anti-narcotics drive. Meanwhile, the International Criminal Court is conducting a preliminary examination of allegations of crimes against humanity.
The government insisted both groups were biased.