‘Watch your mouth’

November 16, 2019
Rodrigo Duterte & Leni Robredo

Duterte warns VP Robredo he would fire her as drug czar if she reveals classified info on Philippines’ narcotics problem.

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte warned Vice President Leni Robredo he would fire her as co-chair of the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) if she revealed classified government information that would endanger the security of the state.

Duterte  made the threat  when asked by Marisol Abdurahan on GMA News Balitanghali Weekend about Robredo’s meeting with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), community-based advocacy groups and U.S. Embassy officials to discuss the drug problem in the country.

“There’s a limit to that. I know that she’s a lawyer and she has other advisers... There are certain matters that should be kept with the government, that classified matters cannot be shared. Once [she does] that, she’s out, I would fire her. Because you jeopardized the security of the state,” Duterte said.


Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chair Director General Aaron N. Aquino yesterday thumbed down a request from Vice President Leni Robredo that she be given a list of “high-value drug targets” or HVTs in her capacity as vice-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs.

Aquino however clarified that while the agency did not provide a list of the HVTs to the Vice President, it was made clear to her team that the agency is willing to present the list to her in a closed-door meeting and only with personnel with security clearance present.

The PDEA chair said that the list is considered classified information that is why not everybody can have a copy of it.

Aquino explained that security clearance refers to the access given to employees on classified information. “Sa pinaka-simpleng explanation — kapag binigay namin ang listahan kay VP Robredo hindi na namin alam kung sinu-sino ang magkakaroon ng access sa listahan. That will compromise our negation operations,” he emphasized.
The official also cited the “need to know rule” in law enforcement where not everybody are given access to sensitive and classified information.

“I myself has no copy of the list in my possession. What I am doing is I check it from time to time with my intelligence service and conduct workshops against these personalities,” Aquino said.

He also clarified that this is not an act of resistance or disrespect to Vice President Robredo, rather, “this is a mere standard operation procedure on law enforcement operations.”

“Imagine what will happen to the efforts of law enforcement if that list landed in wrong hands?” Aquino asked adding that classified information like the list of HVTs is not discussed during any ICAD meeting.

With Alfred Dalizon