MANILA — Vice President Leni Robredo used data anchored on "wild assumption" when she dubbed the government's anti-narcotics drive as a "massive failure," the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency said Tuesday.
Citing police data, Robredo said Monday that the campaign seized only 1 percent of the 156,000 kilos of shabu that flooded the country yearly since 2016.
The Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs, which Robredo briefly co-chaired last year, had no official figure on the amount of drugs circulating in the Philippines, said PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino.
The figure that the Vice President cited, he said, was a mere estimate by police Drug Enforcement Group chief Col. Romeo Caramat, Jr.
"Sabi ni Col. Caramat sa akin, that is a wild assumption. Hindi official figure iyan," Aquino told radio DZMM.
(Col. Caramat told me that is a wild assumption. That is not an official figure.)
"Hindi tugma na magko-compare ka ng estimate versus factual data. Mali iyong comparison ng ating Vice President na lumabas na 1 percent lang," he added.
(It is not appropriate to compare an estimate versus factual data. Our Vice President's comparison that we seized only 1 percent of the drug supply is wrong.)
Authorities have seized P45 billion worth of drugs since 2016 and arrested some 225,000 suspects, including around 8,000 "high-value targets," said the PDEA chief.
He also noted a recent opinion poll that showed 8 in 10 Filipinos were satisfied with the drug war.
"Papaano magkakaroon ng massive failure kung ganoon ang mga kalalabasan ng ating mga datos?" said Aquino.
(How could there be massive failure if our data resulted to that?)
Anti-drug officers, he said, would boost coordination with their foreign counterparts to hunt some 12,000 remaining "high-value targets."
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.
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.