Leni Robredo eyes US intel on big-time drug lords
Recently appointed anti-drug czar Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday revealed that she will be asking the US embassy for help in the Philippine government's efforts to hunt down big-time drug lords.
Robredo, co-chairperson of the inter-agency committee on anti-illegal drugs (ICAD), made the announcement a day after she met with officials of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) where they tackled the need to establish more community-based rehabilitation centers since 90 percent of drug dependents in the country are slight or occasional drug users based on government records.
“Meron na (schedule of meeting with US Embassy in Manila officials). Actually, bukas ng umaga ‘yung meeting. Sa atin lang, gusto nating malaman how we can ask help… gusto nating malaman anong resources, kung available, lalo na sa intelligence,” Robredo said.
“Medyo kailangan natin ng malaking tulong sa pagtugis sa mga malalaking drug lords, [kaya] baka doon tayo matulungan,” Robredo added.
Robredo earlier said that she accepted the ICAD post because it will be worth the political risk if it means saving lives and making big-time drug syndicates and those who kill in the name of the drug war liable for their crimes
“Maraming pwedeng pag-usapan. Gusto nating pakinggan kung ano ‘yung programa nila sa Pilipinas na makakatulong sa ating kampanya,” Robredo said.
Robredo, however, clarified that her consultations with the international community will not be limited to the US Embassy, given that the drug problem transcends boundaries.
“Hindi lang naman US Embassy ang kakausapin natin pero lahat ng puwede nating malapitan sa international community. Kasi alam natin ‘yung problema sa droga, hindi unique sa atin,” Robredo said.
“Hindi natin mareresolba iyon na tayo lang. Kailangan talaga nating makipag-tulungan,” Robredo added.
Robredo earlier met with UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) representatives and other community-based advocacy groups to discuss better ways of management of the illegal drug problem.
“...Ang naging focus nung usapan with UNODC ay iyong karanasan ng ating mga karatig bansa sa Southeast Asia, iyong best practices, at iyong gaps na puedeng tugunan at mapabuti,” Office of the Vice President Undersecretary Boyet Dy said.
Dy said Robredo and UNODC agreed to learn and build from the experiences in Southeast Asia.
GMA resident analyst Richard Heydarian expressed optimism that Robredo's leadership of the anti-illegal drug campaign may attract partners from the international community.
"Dito papasok ang importance ng appointment ni Leni Robredo dahil mukhang supported ito ng United States, supported ito ng United Nations, dahil para sa kanila at least si Leni Robredo more rehabilitation-focused at human rights observant 'yung kaniyang approach," Heydarian said on GMA's Unang Hirit.
Due to criticisms and human rights concerns over the Duterte administration's implementation of the drug war, he said some of the country's international allies withdrew support on the campaign.
Two senators, however, said the Philippines will not get much from Robredo’s meeting with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the possible meeting with the United States Embassy.
Senator Ronald dela Rosa said the drug problem in the Philippines is different from the situation in other countries such as the United States, Mexico, and Colombia.
Dela Rosa said that getting help from all sectors is important to succeed in the government’s campaign against illegal drugs, but its success still depends on what the operatives on the ground do.
“Well, you need all the help you can get in order to succeed in the war on drugs, but at the end of the day, ang success mo andun pa rin sa operatives sa ibaba kung ano ang diskarte na gagawin niya. Andun pa rin ‘yan sa tao na nagtatrabaho,” he said.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III, on the other hand, said other countries are not familiar with the drug problem of the Philippines.
“Ano ang matututunan natin doon, hindi nila alam ang problema sa Pilipinas. Meron silang sariling United States Drug Control Policy Program na ‘yung iba patterned doon sa UN strategy pero ang UN ODC medyo hindi rin malinaw kung ano ang strategies,” Sotto told reporters Monday.
“Kanya-kanyang thinking ‘yan. Kung sa tingin nila makakatulong, then go ahead. My personal opinion, wala tayong mapapala doon,” he added.— MDM/LDF, GMA News