Gamboa: No need for Robredo to have list of high-value drug targets
MANILA, Philippines – There is no need for Vice President Leni Robredo as co-chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), to be given the list of high-value drug targets (HVTs), Philippine National Police (PNP) officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa said on Monday.
According to Gamboa, it would not matter if Robredo has a copy of the HVT list or not, contrary to the latter’s pronouncements that it is part of her mandate as co-chairperson of the ICAD.
“When you say co-chairpersonship in ICAD, remember it is a collegial body and it’s supposed to be policymaking, you’re supposed to review, fine if you want to review the law enforcement campaign,” the PNP head told reporters.
“But would it really matter if you know who are on the list?” he asked. “Remember the PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency) is the head of the law enforcement cluster. Whatever the head says, I would always respect it being a member of the law enforcement cluster, so yes, I adhere to what the PDEA director general says.”
The Vice President’s request for a copy of the HVT list was revealed by PDEA Dir. Gen. Aaron Aquino — Robredo’s co-chair — who initially resented the idea as it contains confidential information.
This led President Rodrigo Duterte, who offered Robredo the ICAD post, to warn that she would be removed from the post should she divulge sensitive data that may harm national security. Robredo clarified however on Sunday that she knows the difference between transparency and confidential information.
She also insisted that she needs to be provided with the list of high-value targets as it would aid her in improving the government’s campaign against illegal drugs.
But Gamboa echoed another former sentiment of Aquino — which is for Robredo to leave the law enforcement aspect of the ICAD to him.
“Kaya nga palagi namin sinasabi, ako I’m already suggesting that na anyway the entire ICAD is composed of four different subcommittees or four different thrusts. Why would VP not take the advocacy and the rehabilitation, nandoon pasok ‘yong sinasabi niya na that the illegal drugs is actually a health problem?” Gamboa asked.
“So probably that could fall on advocacy and rehabilitation. But law enforcement and prosecution or on the justice could be best left to those who know it, which is the PNP and the PDEA, NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) for law enforcement and the Department of Justice for justice,” he added.
Edited by MUF
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