Leni’s drug war bound to fail, says veep’s House ally

November 08, 2019

VICE President Leni Robredo’s campaign against illegal drugs could fail due to inadequate funding.

This is according to Robredo’s ally Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman in reaction to the acceptance of the Vice President of the co-chairmanship of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD).

“Inadequacy of funding support will imperil the success of Vice President Leni Robredo as co-chair of ICAD,” he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Robredo to be part of the ICAD or the agency handling drug war after her comments on extra judicial killings.

According to Lagman, there is no specific appropriation for the war on drugs but its funding is only included in the budget of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Lagman proposed that the multi-million-peso funds appropriated to sustain the bloody war on illegal drugs and related intelligence outlays embedded in the proposed 2020 appropriations for the Philippine National Police (PNP) should be specifically reallocated to ICAD.

This is in order to support Robredo’s non-violent and innovative approaches to solve the drug menace.

Lagman also proposed the President’s huge intelligence and confidential funds amounting to P4.5 billion, which purportedly includes covert operations in the violent drug war, should also be reduced to augment the funds of the ICAD.

“In the proposed 2020 national budget, there is no line item for the funding of the ICAD, although it is claimed that a measly amount of P15 million is included in the miscellaneous and other operating expenses (MOOE) of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) for the ICAD,” he said.

First meeting

Robredo yesterday stressed her aversion to the violence in the war on drugs.

Two days after her appointment by President Duterte as co-chairperson of the Inter-agency Committee Against Illegal Drugs (ICAD) she presided over the body’s meeting and called for an end to the “senseless killings,” averring that bloodshed is not needed to make the anti-drugs campaign succeed.

“Because of the many senseless killings that accompanied police operations, it has reached a certain level of notoriety that when you say tokhang, it is a war against the poor,” GMA News quoted Robredo.

“It is incumbent upon us public officials na matanggal iyong kaisipan na iyon…na baka panahon na para palitan ang kampanya ng mas epektibo pero walang namamatay,” she added.

“Naniniwala ako na sa police operations, anything can happen. Iyong kinokontra natin iyong pinagpaplanuhan, at pagpatay ng mga walang kamuangmuang. Iyon ang aking posisyon and I feel so strongly about it.”

“I want to take this opportunity to contribute in whatever way I can. I look at my appointment here as a signal that the President is open to listening to a fresh perspective,” Robredo said.

Present at the meeting were ICAD co-chair and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chief Aaron Aquino, Dangerous Drugs Board head Catalino Cuy, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año and Trade Secretary Mon Lopez.