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Robredo questions gov’t numbers on drug war but says UN intervention can wait

Vice President Leni Robredo has questioned the integrity of the government’s numbers on drug dependents but maintained that the Duterte administration should be given the chance to address drug-related killings before seeking international intervention.

Robredo made the observations on her first day as co-chair of the inter-agency committee on anti-illegal drugs (ICAD)—a panel which she co-chairs with Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief Aaron Aquino.

“The numbers we have are estimates. 1.8 million on DDB (Dangerous Drugs Board) as of 2015, but the working number for the government is four million. Then there’s the seven to eight million [claimed by President Duterte]. That is why I will be setting an appointment with the law enforcement cluster [of ICAD],” Robredo said at a press conference with Aquino that was held at her office in Quezon City.

“Kaya nga sinabi ko, kung 1.8 million noong 2015 tapos 7 to 8 million ngayon, ano nangyari sa efforts natin? Kaya dapat, i-assess. Iyong integrity ng numbers, hindi masyado puede pagkatiwalaan. I want to delve on this,” Robredo added.

Despite what she considers problematic data amid the drug war deaths, Robredo maintained that it is not yet time to tap international intervention by letting United Nations investigators look into the country's drug war problems.

“I have said this time and again. Our problem should be first solved internally, that is why I am meeting with the different agencies. If I was already of the belief that nothing is being done, those who need to be punished are not punished, then I don’t have any problems inviting them over,” Robredo said.

“If there is nothing to hide, there is nothing to be fearful of. But we [first] take care of what we should take care of,” Robredo added.

Police records show that at least 5,500 drug suspects have been killed under the Philippine National Police's anti-drug operations. The said figure, however, does not include vigilante-style drug-war related deaths committed by unidentified gunmen. — MDM, GMA News