Denied access to ‘narcolist’, Robredo aware of PDEA ‘mistrust’, but VP to adjust


Posted at Nov 16 2019 06:57 PM | Updated as of Nov 16 2019 07:21 PM

MANILA—Vice-President Leni Robredo on Saturday shrugged off Aaron Aquino's hesitance to give her a list of the top drug suspects in the country, saying she's used to working with "many limitations."

Aquino, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) director-general who co-chairs the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-illegal Drugs (ICAD) with Robredo, earlier said that having a list of high-value targets is beyond the vice president's mandate.

"Ine-expect kong maraming resentment. Ine-expect ko na maraming mistrust . . . Pero iyong sa akin, hindi sa akin personal," Robredo told reporters in Camarines Sur when asked to comment on Aquino's statement.

(I was expecting a lot of resentment, mistrust but to me, this is not personal.)

"Iyong sa akin lang, iyong paghingi ng datos napakahalaga sa akin, kasi ang gusto ko strategic, ang gusto ko data-driven, ang gusto ko evidence-based."

(Asking for data is important to me because I want the campaign to be strategic, data-drive and evidence-based.)


Robredo said her work as ICAD co-chair could be "limited" without the narcolist, but she added that other agencies could not stop her from fulfilling her task as one of the leaders of the intensified campaign against illegal narcotics.

"Naiintindihan ko na maraming magiging limitations and ako sanay akong mag-adjust sa limitations," she said.

(I understand that there will be a lot of limitations, and I am used to adjusting to limitations.)

"Kapag hindi binigay, maghahanap tayo ng paraan para maayos pa din. Kung ano iyong nandiyan, I will work on what we have."

(If it is not given, then we will find ways to get things done. Whatever is available, I will work with what we have.)

In 2016, Robredo was stripped of her title as housing chief after disagreements with the Duterte administration.

She turned to the private sector to raise funds for her "Angat Buhay" program, a series of socio-civic projects that saved her from political irrelevance.


Aquino, in a separate statement, clarified that his hesitance to give the narcolist to Robredo was neither an "act of resistance" nor "disrespect" to the vice president.

"This is a mere standard operation procedure on law enforcement operations," Aquino said.

"Sa pinakasimpleng explanation, kapag binigay namin ang listahan kay VP Robredo hindi na namin alam kung sino-sino ang magkakaroon ng access sa listahan. That will compromise our negation operations."

The list of high-value targets is not usually discussed during ICAD meetings, the PDEA chief said.

"I myself have no copy of the list in my possession. What I am doing is I check it from time to time with my intelligence service and conduct workshops against these personalities," he added.

Malacañang earlier urged the public to give Robredo a "wide latitude" to pursue her own policies in the war on drugs.

"The vice president must be given a wide latitude in outlining her own anti-illegal drug scheme and pursue, without interference from other quarter backers," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo earlier said.

"We call on everybody to give VP Leni space, allow her to perform her assigned task and not to create roadblocks and imagined conflicts."