Robredo to shift drug war focus to ‘supply constriction’: Lacson

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 09 2019 02:26 PM

Vice President Leni Robredo has agreed to shift the drug war’s focus on “supply constriction” to target big-time drug lords instead of street peddlers, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said Saturday, a day after the second-in-command sought his advice.

Robredo earlier met with the former police chief-turned-lawmaker to get tips on how to effectively handle her new role as co-chair of the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD).

“One thing nag-agree kami is mag-refocus kasi for years nag-focus 'yung law enforcement sa demand side... Eh nakita naman natin sa Customs 'yung mga pumapasok at nakakalusot na tone-toneladang droga,” Lacson told reporters in a phone interview.

(One thing we agreed on is to refocus because for years we focused on law enforcement on the demand side. We have seen at Customs how tons of drugs are able to get through.)

“Same mind na mas maganda siguro mag-refocus na sa supply constriction naman i-shift 'yung strategy sa paglaban sa droga,” he said.

(We had the same mind that it's better to refocus on supply constriction, shift the strategy in the fight against illegal drugs.)

Robredo can make use of some P15 million from the purse of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) to “enhance” the country’s intelligence networks, said Lacson, who will defend the said agencies’ 2020 budget proposals in the Senate.

“Ang intelligence napaka-importante nun dahil it is the front mover of all operations. Kung ico-control mo, i-enhance mo 'yung intelligence network mo," he said.

(Intelligence is very important because it is the front mover of all operations. If you control it, you enhance your intelligence network.)

"Napag-usapan din namin na dapat siguro palawakin 'yung network para magkaroon ng close coordination with foreign counterparts," he said, citing his experience when he was still in law enforcement.

(We also talked about expanding our network to have close coordination with foreign counterparts.)

Robredo earlier accepted an invitation to join some drug operations to have a better understanding of the drug war, but Lacson said he was not in favor of having the Vice President present throughout such raids. 

"Maco-compromise naman 'yung operations kung kasama mo 'yung Vice President from start to finish kasi 'yung security niya pa lang, nakakalat na 'yun," he said.

(The operations will be compromised if the Vice President is there from start to finish because her security alone will be all over.)
The senator said he also recommended several former police officers as possible drug war advisers, but declined to name his trusted men.

Lacson lauded Robredo for her commitment to her new role in government.

"'Yung ale napaka simple at very logical na mag-isip... Talagang very interested siyang matuto at magampanan ang tungkulin na ibinigay sa kaniya," the senator said.

(She's so simple and thinks very logically... She's very interested to learn and perform the role given her.)

"Sa kaniya, trabaho lang. Kung sino makatulong sa kaniya, welcome sa kaniya," he said.

(For her, it's just a job. Whoever can help her, she'll welcome them.)

But Lacson also cautioned the Vice President to be wary of the different "characters" she would encounter in her pursuit of a less violent drug war.

"Sabi ko sa kaniya (I told her) she should really watch her back all the time," he said.

ABS-CBN News sought comment from Robredo's camp but has yet to receive a reply as of this posting. 

Opposition leader Robredo on Wednesday accepted her appointment as ICAD co-chair, saying she would pursue an anti-drug campaign without “senseless” killings.

President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Robredo to the post after the Vice President slammed the drug war, calling on the chief executive to allow the United Nations to investigate the drug war, which she said was “obviously, not working.”

She later clarified that she meant to urge administration leaders to "step back and assess" the narcotics crackdown. Duterte's anti-drug campaign has been criticized globally for thousands of killings, but the administration has defended it, saying those slain had resisted arrest.