MANILA - Vice President Leni Robredo on Monday said she won't leak confidential information on the drug war amid concerns that she will share it with foreign entities.
"'Yung assurance naman lahat na sensitive information hindi idi-disclose,” she told reporters during a brief ambush interview at the Senate.
(There’s an assurance that all sensitive information won’t be disclosed.)
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier warned he will fire Robredo as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) if she reveals classified government matters to foreign entities.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo added that "revealing state secrets to foreign individuals" is a violation of the law.
Robredo had asked for a list of the country’s top drug suspects but the request was rejected by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.
PDEA chief Aaron Aquino explained 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."
Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa, Philippine National Police Officer-in-Charge, said the Vice President should focus on improving the advocacy and rehabilitation clusters of her committee, and leave the campaign's law enforcement side to relevant agencies such as the PNP and PDEA.
Last week, Robredo also met with delegates of the United States government and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime following her appointment as ICAD co-chair.
Sen. Kiko Pangilinan, who is also Liberal Party president, said there was no need to warn Robredo.
“Sinabi naman ni Vice President alam nya kung ano ang pwedeng isiwalat at kung ano ang confidential. So sa palagay ko hindi na s'ya kailangan pagsabihan pa,” he told reporters.
(The Vice President already said that she knows what she can share and what should remain confidential. I think there is no need to remind her about it.)
“Kung gusto nilang magkaroon ng maayos na tulungan dapat pati yung impormasyon they should be able to share it,” he added.
(If they want proper cooperation they should be able to share the information.)
Robredo was at the Senate on Monday morning to attend the budget deliberations for the Office of the Vice President (OVP). The OVP budget for 2020 amounting to P664.883 million was immediately approved as none of the senators interpellated.
Robredo, who was all smiles when her office’s budget was approved, later told reporters that while she always expects questions during budget deliberation, she was relieved it was over.
“Parati namang may expectation na ganun (mga interpellation) every time na may budget hearing,” she said. “Pero nagpapasalamat tayo hindi naman nahirapan 'yung pag-approve ng budget.”
(We always have expectations like that every time there is a budget hearing. But we’re thankful that it wasn’t difficult to have the budget approved.)
Robredo said she will be meeting with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) next week, possibly on the 27th.
Since being appointed as ICAD co-chair, Robredo has sought out the opinions and expertise of different groups, including the civil society. She said this would make the anti-drug campaign more inclusive.
Robredo, who has criticized the unnecessary killings brought about by Duterte’s drug war, has vowed to pursue a humane counter-narcotics campaign that uses a public health approach.