DILG exec reminds Robredo on drug war info: 'Walang laglagan'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 15) — A member of the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-illegal Drugs (ICAD) admitted initial reservations about Vice President Leni Robredo — an opposition leader — being tasked to co-lead the Duterte administration's war against illegal drugs.

Interior Undersecretary Ricojudge Echiverri on Friday said other members of the committee were also uneasy with the addition of Robredo, given the fact that she has been vocal against the failures of the drug war.

"Not nag-aalangan totally (We were not completely apprehensive) — not just me but the other agencies. Of course this is a new interaction from an opposition. This is the first time the administration will accept an opposition into a flagship program, which is very critical to the government," he told CNN Philippines on Friday.

He said they can see Robredo's sincerity in cooperating with the other ICAD members to solve the country's drug woes, but said they are hoping she doesn't leak critical information to the opposition or those who are against the drug war launched by President Rodrigo Duterte.

"Ang amin lang siguro, huwag sanang mangyari na kung may malaman na impormasyon, sana ay walang laglagan... You are already part of the group that finds proper solution," he said.

[Translation: We hope that she doesn't compromise us when she receives vital information. You are already part of the group that finds proper solution.]

Echiverri said they will not withhold information from her on the realities of the anti-drug operations unless it's a "matter of national security."

"It's more of a reservation, not necessarily we don't want to give information," he added.

Despite the unease, Echiverri said the initial negative feeling is now gone after he had met with her twice. However, he said they are still keeping an eye open.

"After two meetings, medyo wala na siguro (It's kind of not there anymore). We still have to be very cautious," he said.

Robredo, the chair of the Liberal Party, was appointed ICAD co-chair after saying the drug war is clearly failing despite the extreme directives from Duterte on how to eradicate illegal drugs in the country.

In response, Robredo’s spokesperson Atty. Barry Gutierrez said Echiverri can raise his reservations and concerns with the Vice President herself.

“If he has concerns, it would definitely be better to raise them directly, either with the VP, or the President,” Gutierrez said in a message to reporters.

“Handang handa si VP Leni makipagtulungan para ayusin at lalong palakasin ang kampanya laban sa iligal na droga, sana handa rin ang mga tulad ni Usec Echiverri na makipagtulungan sa kanya,” he added.

[Translation: VP Leni is ready to work with officials in order to strengthen the campaign against illegal drugs. I hope people like Usec Echiverri are also ready to work with her.]