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WAR ON DRUGS

Robredo refuses access to classified info on HVTs pending clearance from Duterte


Vice President Leni Robredo has turned down the offer of Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chief Aaron Aquino of giving her classified information about high value targets in the government's anti-drug campaign pending clarifications on the scope of her mandate as co-chair of the inter-agency committee on anti-illegal drugs (ICAD).

Aquino sits as Robredo's co-chair in the agency. 

Robredo said that prior to President Rodrigo Duterte's press conference late Tuesday night calling her untrustworthy and scatter brain, she already sent a letter to the Chief Executive to clarify the scope of her mandate as ICAD co-chair.

"PDEA Director General [Aaron] Aquino asked if I could come earlier for a brief meeting [today] to brief me on some classified matters, pero ako, I refused. Hihintayin ko muna sagot ni Presidente kung ano ang limits ng aking mandato," Robredo said.

"Binibigyan ako ng folders, pero hindi ko muna titignan habang 'di pa clarified ang limits ng aking mandato," she added.

One of ICAD's mandates is to arrest high value targets, but the President had said that Robredo cannot be trusted with those information as she tends to reveal them in ways that is detrimental to the country's security.

Robredo, however, clarified that while she is not backing down from the job as ICAD co-chair, she is not going to usurp any authority outside her mandate.

She said that Aquino also wrote the President seeking clarification on Robredo's role, but the President just responded to Aquino by passing the buck to the Vice President.

Robredo said such attitude won't cut it.

"Sumulat ako kahapon, sinasabi ko hindi puwedeng kami iyong mag-determine kasi siya iyong appointing officer. Kailangan siya iyong magsabi ng ano ba iyong... ano ba iyong mandatong binibigay sa akin, ano ba iyong limits," Robredo said.

"Wala naman akong plano na magsaklaw ng mandato ng iba. Dahil very general iyong appointment sa akin, sinabi na co-chair ako ng ICAD, ginagawa ko kung ano iyong expectations sa co-chair ng ICAD. Kasi iyong ayaw ko, ma-accuse ako na lumalampas ako sa mandato.

"Kasi iyon iyong lumalabas sa media, despite the fact na mayroong executive order na mandato dapat ng ICAD iyong to ensure the arrest of high-value targets...iyong mga press statements ng mga opisyal ng administrasyon, parang ina-accuse ako of going beyond my mandate," Robredo added.

Senator Panfilo Lacson earlier said that Robredo, being a member of the National Security Council in her capacity as the Vice President, should have access to high value targets. — RSJ, GMA News