Robredo declines PDEA chief’s offer for briefing on ‘some classified matters’
MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo revealed Wednesday that she refused the offer of Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Dir. Gen. Aaron Aquino to brief her about “some classified matters” prior to her meeting with officials of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB).
According to Robredo, she declined Aquino’s bid because she first wanted their roles clarified and categorized by President Rodrigo Duterte, as appointing authority.
“In fairness to Director-General Aquino, he was offering to brief me on some classified matters,” she said in an interview inside the DDB compound which also houses the PDEA headquarters.
“Pero ako, I refused, kasi sabi ko hihintayin ko muna iyong sagot ni Presidente doon sa aking clarification kung ano ba talaga iyong limits ng aking mandato. Kasi iyong ayaw ko, ma-accuse ako na lumalampas ako sa mandato,” she added.
(But I refused it because I said I would first wait for the President’s answer to my clarification regarding the limits of my mandate. Because I don’t want to be accused of going beyond my mandate.)
Duterte appointed Robredo as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) on October 31. PDEA’s Aquino likewise sits as co-chair of ICAD.
Earlier, Aquino bared Robredo’s request for the data on the drug war’s high-value targets (HVTs). Aquino has questioned Robredo’s move, asking why there was a need for Robredo to know such information. Philippine National Police (PNP) officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa backed Aquino’s stance on the matter.
Robredo somehow insisted that it is part of her mandate to be informed about such data since she ICAD co-chairperson. But she also admitted that her role – as well as Aquino role – appears vague because Executive Order No. 15, which created ICAD, only designated one chairperson.
Aquino eventually mellowed down, saying he is willing to show the confidential information to Robredo but only in a private meeting.
Earlier, the Vice President said she sent a letter to President Rodrigo Duterte asking for clarification on her mandate as ICAD co-chair. Robredo said she sent the letter hours before the President held a hastily called late-night press conference at the Palace where he criticized Robredo’s move to talk with foreign organizations about the drug war.
“When we sent a letter to Director-General Aquino asking for data, sinasabi nila na it was a ‘misstep’ because I was asking for information that was beyond my mandate as ICAD co-chair. So iyong sa akin, bago ko tanggapin iyong mga ino-offer na mga information, alamin ko muna kung ano bang […] limits ng aking mandato,” she explained.
(When we sent a letter to Director-General Aquino asking for data, they were saying it was a ‘misstep’ because I was asking for information that was beyond my mandate as ICAD co-chair. So for me, before I accept such an offer for information, I’d rather know first the limits of my mandate.)
“Ang sabi ko kay Director General Aquino, kapag na-clarify na iyon and sinabi ng Pangulo na nasa mandato ko iyong ‘ensure the arrest of high-value targets’, eh ‘di ituloy namin iyong briefing,” she added.
(I told Director General Aquino that if the mandate is already clarified and the President says that part of my mandate is ‘ensure the arrest of high-value targets’, then we’ll continue with the briefing.)
Robredo has said she would continue her work as ICAD co-chair despite Duterte’s distrust, saying she’s not the type of person who backs down from tasks given to her.
“Ako, it’s always worth working for something we believe in. Sa akin, naniniwala ako na marami akong mako-contribute sa kampanya laban sa ilegal na droga. Sa akin, hindi ako pumipili ng kahit anong designation; kapag sinabi niyang ito lang iyong trabahuhin ko, iyon lang iyong tatrabahuhin ko,” she said.
(It’s always worth working for something we believe in. I believe that I can contribute a lot to the campaign against illegal drugs. I’m not choosy about designations; if he says this is the only job I should do, that’s the only task I would work on.)
Edited by KGA
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