Robredo: I said reassess – not stop – drug war
MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday clarified that she merely called for an assessment of the government’s drug war — and not for the end of the campaign.
Robredo made the clarifications following her interview with international news outfit Reuters, which was subsequently followed with the release of a news story titled “Philippine Vice President says time for Duterte to halt failed drug war.”
“If you check the interview, what I said was that the government should assess if proper strategies are being implemented [in the drug war campaign] because if not, then it needs to be tweaked,” Robredo said in Filipino in her weekly AM radio show “BISErbisyong LENI.”
“We did not say it should stop. Never. I looked at it. This was the transcript. I looked back at the video, I checked the transcript. I did not say the campaign against drugs should stop. What I said was maybe we need to step back,” she added.
According to the Vice President, the campaign should be assessed as there are aspects of it that are not working.
Citing data from the Dangerous Drugs Board and President Rodrigo Duterte, Robredo said that the number of drug addicts grew to seven to eight million in 2019.
“If you started with 1.4 million and it ballooned to seven to eight million despite the campaign, something is not working,” she said.
Robredo also discussed the presence of abusive authorities as she lamented the number of deaths from the drug war, who she said were mostly poor.
“A lot of people have died and the numbers are still rising. It needs to be assessed,” she said.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo earlier hit Robredo, saying he was no longer surprised when the Vice President “again demonized the President and this administration’s campaign against illegal drugs.”
He added that Robredo was “echoing the lies and black propaganda of some of her colleagues in the political opposition, which to say the least is unfortunate, especially since she was part of the Cabinet when the government’s program against the drug menace was launched.”
But Robredo said she had proposed that the issue of illegal drugs be treated as a health issue, rather than a problem in criminal justice.
“Even if our criticism is the unpopular opinion, we still need to criticize because that is our job as citizens,” she said.
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