Robredo’s report on drug ‘mere political attack’: PDEA chief

By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

January 6, 2020, 9:38 pm

<p>PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino <em>(File photo)</em></p>

PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino (File photo)

MANILA -- Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Aaron Aquino on Monday dismissed Vice President Leni Robredo’s report on the drug campaign as “a mere political attack" against President Rodrigo Duterte.

"I see her recommendations as a mere political attack against President Rodrigo Duterte," Aquino said in a statement.

Robredo, who was appointed as co-chair of Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) on Oct. 31, 2019, claimed that the Duterte administration’s crackdown on illegal drugs is a “failure” because authorities have seized less than one percent of shabu supply since 2016.

“Vice President Leni Robredo’s statement is SADDENING – 18 days as ICAD co-chairman yet she has dismissed and ignored all of our government’s accomplishments and efforts for the past three years,” Aquino said.

Aquino said the metrics for the success of the anti-illegal drug campaign were drug clearing, crime index, trust rating and operational accomplishments.

He said 16,706 barangays out of 33,881 or 49.13 percent were cleared of illegal drugs while nationwide crime incidents went down from 11,860 in July 2016 to 5,000 in July 2019 as reported by the Philippine National Police.

He added the PDEA has seized a total of P45 billion worth of illegal drugs from 2016 to 2019 from the 162,987 operations with 225,284 arrest.

"The trust rating of President Duterte, the author of the illegal drug war, is at its peak at 87 percent last December," Aquino said.

Aquino said 82 percent of Filipinos are satisfied with the campaign against illegal drugs as revealed in the Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey last September 2019.

"Ibig sabihin tama ang ginagawa ng ating national government. Gusto ng tao ang ginagawa ng Pangulong Duterte sa program kontra illegal na droga [This means that the government is doing it right. People like what President Duterte is doing against illegal drugs]," he said.

Aquino admitted there are still shortcomings and flaws in the anti-illegal drug operations but “that is what ICAD is addressing now”.

He said the data of the government was not messed up because the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) has completed its survey and now on the final phase of data gathering.

"We reported that to the VP. However, I told her that it is very difficult to gather the real data since nobody will admit that he or she is a user or pusher," Aquino pointed out.

Other countries were also in the same situation in gathering real data, he added.

On October 31, President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Robredo as anti-drug czar to help Aquino co-chair the ICAD.

Duterte, however, fired the Vice President on Nov. 24 after she committed “missteps" such as talking to foreign individuals and groups which already “prejudged” the government’s campaign against illegal drugs. (PNA)