Duterte threat to fire Leni Robredo ‘utterly unnecessary’
President Duterte’s threat to sack Vice President Leni Robredo as cochair of the government’s anti-illegal drugs committee if she were to reveal state secrets was “utterly unnecessary,” according to an opposition lawmaker.
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said the Vice President was all too aware of her responsibility not to disclose matters of national security in her new role in the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (Icad).
“It is utterly unnecessary for President Duterte to threaten Vice President Leni Robredo with dismissal … if she would reveal ‘state secrets’ on illegal drugs,” Lagman said in a statement.
On Sunday, Malacañang issued a statement warning Robredo that the President would remove her from her new post should she reveal state secrets to foreign individuals and entities.
“Robredo knows only too well that ‘state secrets’ must not be made public nor shared with unauthorized persons in order not to jeopardize national security and she would treat classified information given to her as confidential,” he added.
But Lagman, a Liberal Party ally of Robredo, said the so-called narcolist containing the names of drug personalities being monitored by the authorities should by no means be considered a state secret.
Duterte named suspects
“No less than Duterte has previously released on several occasions the names of high profile suspects in the drug list which included businessmen, politicians, generals and police officers, among others,” he pointed out.
Robredo had requested a copy of the government’s list of high-value drug trafficking targets but was rebuffed by her cochair, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief Aaron Aquino, who said she did not need to have it.
Aquino later relented and said that PDEA was willing to show her the list of high-value targets “in a closed door meeting only with the presence of personnel with security clearance.”
In a statement late Saturday, Aquino said: “If we give the list to Vice President Robredo we do not know who will have access to that list. That will compromise our negation operations.”
He added, “Imagine what will happen to the efforts of law enforcement if that list landed on wrong hands?”
Detained Sen. Leila de Lima on Sunday said the reluctance of Aquino to furnish Robredo with the list only showed the Duterte administration’s “duplicity” in tasking her to lead the antidrug campaign,
“We see a lot of duplicity here. What vicious political game is Duterte and his men playing this time?” De Lima said.
‘Are they hiding something’
“Why the hesitance to share information as to high-value drug lords and related matters with [Robredo]? Are they hiding something that’s why they’re afraid to [share the list]? Why impose conditions and limitations on her power as Icad cochair?” she asked.—WITH REPORTS FROM JEANNETTE I. ANDRADE AND MARLON RAMOS
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