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‘Count me in’

Robredo to join actual drug operations as ICAD co-chair

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By Merlina Hernando-Malipot

Vice President Leni Robredo on Friday expressed willingness to join actual drug operations “to better understand” how the anti-narcotics campaign of the government works.

Vice President Leni Robredo  (OVP / MANILA BULLETIN)

Vice President Leni Robredo
(OVP / MANILA BULLETIN)

“Gustong-gusto ko iyan (I’d like that very much),” said Robredo after Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Aaron Aquino dared her to join actual operations to get a better understanding of how the campaign works.

Robredo led the first-ever briefing of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) after she was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte as co-chair along with Aquino.

During the meeting, Robredo maintained her stand against the alleged “senseless killings” as a result of the government’s drug war and insisted that changes should be initiated to make it “more effective.”

However, Aquino noted that the anti-illegal drugs war campaign is “working” and that Robredo should consider being involved in the entire process – starting from the planning stage to the actual operations. “This may serve as my challenge to you, Ma’am so you will have an idea how our law enforcers work in the field,” he said in a mix of English and Filipino.

Awkward; Unclear

During the three-hour briefing, Aquino noted that it was quite “awkward” meeting meeting with Robredo at first since she has been a vocal critic of government’s drug war.

Aquino earlier cited the VP’s “lack of experience” when it comes to law enforcement. However, Rodredo assured him during the three-hour briefing “not to worry” about it anymore.

Meanwhile, Aquino also noted that he wrote a letter to the President for a “clearer” understanding of Robredo’s tasks and duties as ICAD co-chair. To this, the VP also admitted that she “was at a loss” of what is expected of her.

Prior to the briefing, Robredo expressed hope that all the ICAD members will unite for a single goal of addressing the illegal drugs problem in the country. “I would also like to believe that people expect us to go beyond the differences, and for us to work together,” she said.

While she is supportive of a “strong national policy” against illegal drugs and an anti-drug campaign that is vigorous, Robredo maintained that everything should be done “within the bounds of the rule of law.”

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