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Robredo pushes for zero killings in drug war

By LLANESCA T. PANTI,GMA News

TANAY, Rizal — Vice President Leni Robredo will push for zero killings in the government’s drug war now that she has been named co-chair of the inter-agency against illegal drugs (ICAD) panel.

Robredo made the pitch a day before her scheduled briefing with her ICAD co-chair and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Aaron Aquino.

“Wala sa plano natin ang pagpatay kasi wala iyon sa bounds ng rule of law. Iyon ‘yung ating directive,” Robredo said.

“Maraming pagkakataon kasi iyong concentration ay nasa maliliit [na drug pushers]. Dapat mas maraming resources at oras para hanapin iyong mga malalaki. Yun ang aking directive. Pero iyong pagpatay, whether malaki o maliit, wala iyon sa usapan,” Robredo added.

The Duterte administration has been drawing flak for lack of big time drug syndicates that are arrested or charged, on top of billions worth of shabu which passed thru the Bureau of Customs without the authorities knowing about it.

Killed suspects

To date, the official number of drug suspects killed in the Duterte administration’s campaign against illegal drugs has increased to more than 5,700, according to the the Philippine National Police.

In a presentation before the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs on Wednesday, the PNP said 5,779 drug suspects have been killed in police anti-drug operations from July 1, 2016 to August 31, 2019—up by 253 from the figure as of June 30.

During the same period, the PNP said a total of 142,996 anti-drug operations were launched, where 1,499,474 drug personalities were accounted for. Of these, 1,285,416 personally appeared or surrendered while 208,279 were arrested.

Government critics, however, have been claiming that the number of suspected drug personalities killed in the campaign could go as high as 20,000.

Kid gloves

On Wednesday, Senator Christopher "Bong" Go said he is worried that Robredo’s stint in the anti-drug panel would increase the number of drug traffickers because he thinks the Vice President will treat drug traffickers with kid gloves.

Robredo, however, countered that the success of the anti-drug policy does not depend on the number of killed drug personalities.

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“Papalitan natin iyong metrics. Hindi ito nasusukat sa dami ng pinatay. Ang metrics natin, dapat iyong numero ng mga napabuti natin ang buhay,” Robredo said.

Robredo’s meeting with Aquino is scheduled on 2 p.m. Friday, November 8, at her office in Quezon City. 

Also on Thursday, Robredo said she is looking forward to her meeting with Senator Panfilo Lacson.

“I’m grateful that he offered his help and support as I take on this new responsibility,” Robredo said. “I’m looking forward to working closely with Senator Lacson and learning from his insights and experience.” 

2022 polls

Also during the interview here, Robredo said her acceptance of her new post is not connection to the 2022 elections.

Though she has yet to bare her plans for 2022, Malacañang, in encouraging her to accept the appointment, had said being co-chair of ICAD could be her "ladder to the presidency."

Interviewed here during a humanitarian visit to Sitio Macantog, Robredo said she would've turned down the appointment if she were thinking about the next national elections.

"Kung iniisip ko iyong 2022, hindi ko ito tatanggapin kasi too much of a risk," she said. "Pero madedehado masyado ang ating mga kababayan pag kaming mga nakaupo tinitignan na agad ang 2022."

Robredo said her activities — including the one here where her office turned over solar kits to 60 families — are not for gaining political clout but for alleviating the plight of the poor.  — RSJ/KBK, GMA News