VP Leni meets with enforcement cluster of anti-drug committee

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 14 2019 11:00 AM

MANILA - Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday morning met with officials of the enforcement cluster of the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) that she now co-chairs.

The enforcement cluster is composed of agencies that work together to conduct anti-illegal drug operations, which include investigations against drug syndicates and financiers.

Before the actual meeting, Robredo met with Philippine National Police (PNP) Officer-in-Charge Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa and other officials.

Other top officials present at the meeting are Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Ricojudge Echiverri, Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) Undersecretary Earl Saavedra, and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Deputy Director General Gregorio Ramos Pimentel.

Robredo’s camp said DILG Secretary Eduardo Año might also attend the meeting later in the morning.

Other agencies attending the meeting are the Department of National Defense, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the National Bureau of Investigation, the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, the Philippine Ports Authority, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, the Maritime Industry Authority, the Anti-Money Laundering Council, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, the Bureau of Fire Protection, the Bureau of Immigration, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, the Bureau of Customs, the Philippine Coast Guard, the Office for Transportation Security, the Philippine Statistics Authority and the Philippine Postal Corporation.

On Tuesday, Robredo told media that she will be discussing possible shifts in the policy directions of the anti-drug campaign during ICAD’s meeting on Thursday. She said this in response to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo’s comment that she can scrap Tokhang.

However, Robredo clarified that she would rather that the law enforcers themselves conceptualize a “more effective program” so they have “ownership” of the program.

“Mahirap iyong parang dikta lang tayo nang dikta. Mas mabuti dahil iyong ICAD is a, parang, collegial body na iba-ibang mga organisasyon iyong kasama. Mas mabuting nabibigyan iyong boses ang lahat. So during our meeting on Thursday, isa iyon sa mga pag-uusapan,” she said.

(It’s hard to just dictate. ICAD is like a collegial body and the different organizations are included so it’s better to hear everyone’s voice. So during our meeting on Thursday, that’s one of the things that we will discuss.)

Robredo said there are still a lot of things to thresh out and that she will have meetings with the 4 different clusters of the ICAD. Besides the enforcement cluster, there is a justice cluster, an advocacy cluster and a rehabilitation and reintegration cluster.

In between her meetings with ICAD, she is also meeting with civil society groups and other organizations.

President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Robredo as co-chair of the ICAD amid comments of critics that it is nothing but a trap to shame the Vice President who is from the opposition.

But Robredo said she decided to accept the position to prevent unnecessary killings brought about by the drug war. Her camp dismissed comments that she is doing it for political mileage.