Robredo pushes back, asks what’s the real figure on drug war
MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo on Wednesday turned the table on Palace and police officials who took turns in assailing her drug war report.
Speaking at the Kapihan sa Manila Bay press conference, Robredo reminded administration officials that the numbers came from official government data.
“Kapag tinignan niyo ‘yong buong report, talagang ‘yong data na ginamit namin from the agencies. Kaya kapag sinabi nila na mali ‘yong data kuno, eh galing ‘yon sa kanila,” Robredo said during the Kapihan sa Manila Bay press conference on Wednesday.
(If you would look at the whole report, the data that we used came from the agencies. If they say that the data is wrong, they should remember that it came from them.)
She also insisted that they took extra care in preparing the report, making sure to use official data — except for her report on the low percentage of drug surrenderees being screened for their level of addiction, which was from the United States Agency for International Development (Usaid).
However, numbers presented to back her claims that government’s drug war is a “massive failure” because it did not even manage to constrict one percent of the illegal drugs and drug money revolving around the country annually — came from the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
PNP officials said last November 2019 that the country consumes 3,000 kilograms weekly, or when translated to a yearly basis, 156,000 kilograms. Robredo noted in her report that only 1,344 kilograms were seized from January to October 2019.
“‘Yan ‘yong only data na hindi galing sa agencies, pero the rest we were very careful na hindi namin isasali sa discussion ‘yong mga data na hindi nanggaling sa agencies,” she noted.
“Kung mali ‘yong estimate ng PNP, ano ‘yong tama? Kung walang basehan dapat ‘di niyo nirereport, siyempre yung taumbayan maniniwala sa pamahalaan. Kasi kami naka-base lang sa kung ano ‘yong nirereport niyo,” she added.
(That’s the only data that did not come from the agencies, but the rest, we were very careful not to include in the discussion numbers that did not come from agencies.)
(If the PNP estimates are wrong, what is the correct number? If there is no basis then they should not report it, because the people would believe what the government says. Because for us, we are only basing our numbers on what they reported.)
Robredo said these a day after admin officials downplayed her report, with Interior Secretary Eduardo Año claiming it was bereft of logic.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo also doubted the accuracy of Robredo’s report, while PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino — who worked with Robredo as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) — said that it was based on “wild assumptions.”
“The comments that I’ve read, mukhang ‘yong mga nagko-comment ay hindi pa nababasa ‘yong report […] kasi maraming concerns na nire-raise na actually sinasagot na ng report,” she explained.
(The comments that I’ve read, it seems that the people commenting have not yet read the report, because most of the concerns raised were answered in the report.)
Robredo was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte to lead the ICAD last October 31, which she accepted on November 6. However, she was fired just 18 days into the job, with Duterte claiming that it was borne out of her talking to foreign organizations rebuked by the government.
However, she claimed that it was merely ‘fake news’, as the agencies she talked to — the US Embassy and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime — have been involved in the war on drugs even before she came into the picture.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.