Cayetano: Congress willing to increase anti-drugs budget if Robredo keeps quiet with agenda

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 14) — House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said that the Congress is willing to augment the budget for the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) unless Vice President Leni Robredo refrains from publicizing her agenda in the agency.

“You need more funds? Huwag mo na sabihin sa media, malalaman pa ng mga drug lords na dadagdagan ka ng pondo at saan ilalagay. Makipag-meeting ka sa Kongreso, we will give you the funds kung kinakailangan,” said Cayetano on Thursday.

[Translation: You need more funds? Don’t tell the media, drug lords would just know that you would get funds and where will it be allocated. You meet with the Congress, we will give you the funds needed.]

Robredo said on her radio program last Sunday that ICAD’s P15 million budget is not enough to implement the anti-drug strategies, considering its wide responsibilities.

She added that Senator Panfilo Lacson who would be sponsoring the proposed 2020 budget of anti-drug agencies in the Senate, has committed to try to increase funding for the anti-drug campaign.

Cayetano noted that he supports Robredo’s new post as anti-drug czar but suggested that it’s better for her keep quiet with her actions.

“Ang advise ko lang is less talk, more action. This isn’t a game, this isn’t politcs. So halimbawa, may mga in-announce siya, nakikinig din yung mga drug lords. Why announce [it] pa? Just mag-command conference, talk to the people, and do a good job,” said the House Speaker.

[Translation: My advice to her is less talk, more action. This isn’t a game, this isn’t politics. So for example that she announces something, drug lords might be also listening. Why announce it? She could just hold a command conference, talk to the people, and do a good job.]

He added, “So don’t misinterpret, I’m not criticizing her. I’m criticizing the way that she has been airing out the anti-drug campaign.”

Robredo has been busy in the past days with her new post. She has met with representatives of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, US State Department’s International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, the US Drug Enforcement Administration, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation and the US Agency for International Development to discuss possible improvements in the government’s anti-drug war.

READ: Robredo, US officials discuss possible amendments to anti-drug law

“Ang presidente na mismo nagsabi na may mga law enforcers na into drugs, kapag sinabi mo in public na susundin mo yung intelligence ng US, yung mga nakakaalam nun, na-aalert na yung drug lords,” said Cayetano.

[Translation: It’s the president himself who said that there are law enforcers who are into drugs. If you announced to the public that you will follow the US intelligence, those who are aware of it might alert the drug lords.]

The United Nations council adopted a resolution last July calling for a probe into the human rights situation in the Philippines, citing the “murderous” war on drugs. 

The Philippine National Police reported 6,600 have been killed in anti-drug operations but human rights organizations pegged the deaths at more than 27,000.