PDEA chief admits ‘awkwardness’ of ICAD members with Leni Robredo onboard
MANILA, Philippines — Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief Aaron Aquino admitted on Friday that there was some awkwardness among member-agencies of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) with Vice President Leni Robredo onboard as his co-chair.
In a phone interview, Aquino also said that the partnership between Leni Robredo, a member of the political opposition, and the 20 agencies of ICAD would improve through time.
“I guess sa umpisa lang naman ‘yun na medyo naiilang ang bawat isa, pero eventually magiging comfortable kami sa isa’t isa (it’s just on the start that there will be some awkwardness with everyone, but eventually we will be comfortable with each other) on the latter part sa (of) ICAD conferences,” he said.
Aquino said that his working relationship with Leni Robredo in the ICAD is “so far, okay,” and that it is normal to have some disagreement on certain issues, particularly on the Vice President’s suggestion to scrap “Oplan Tokhang.”
“Generally wala namang problema. Madali siyang kausap, magaan kasama. Lahat naman makukuha sa usapan (there is no problem. She’s not difficult to talk with and pleasant to be with. Everything can be handled through a good conversation),” said Aquino.
Robredo, who had recently accepted President Rodrigo Duterte’s designation for her to be Aquino’s co-chair in ICAD, held her first meeting with the 20 member-agencies of the committee, including the Philippine National Police, on November 8.
Robredo has been a vocal critic of the deaths in the drug war — pegged at over 5,500 by PDEA but could go much higher according to human rights groups — since it was launched by the Duterte administration in 2016.
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