PDEA to present Robredo list of high-value drug targets but with conditions

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 16) — The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said on Saturday that it is willing to present Vice President Leni Robredo a list of high-value drug targets, but with certain conditions.

“It was discussed to her team that the agency is willing to present the list to her in a close door meeting only with the presence of personnel with security clearance,” PDEA chief Director General Aaron Aquino said in a statement.

Aquino said the list contains sensitive and classified information that should only be shared on a “need to know” basis.

While PDEA said they will present Robredo a list, it is standing pat on not giving her an actual copy of it.

Aquino stressed that they cannot give Robredo an actual list of high-value targets because it could compromise their operations.

Kapag binigay namin ang listahan kay VP Robredo, hindi na namin alam kung sinu-sino ang magkakaroon ng access sa listahan,” Aquino said, adding that he also does not have a copy of the list.

[Translation: If we give the list to VP Robredo, we would no longer know which people have access to the list.]

He said their refusal to give Robredo a list is not an act of resistance or disrespect, but “standard operation procedure” in law enforcement operations.

Robredo told reporters Saturday that if she does not receive a list of high-value targets, she would just work around this “obstacle.”

Nasa sa kanila naman kung ibibigay o hindi. Ako, ang sa akin, sanay ako to work with many limitations. Kapag hindi binigay, eh ‘di maghahanap tayo ng paraan para maayos pa din,” she said, stressing that she wants the anti-drug campaign to be data-driven.

[Translation: It’s up to them if they will give it or not. Anyway, I’m used to working with many limitations. If it’s not given, we’ll find ways so the campaign would still be in order.]

She said she understands why some would have reservations in providing her with the list of high-value targets, but does not take this personally.

Interior Undersecretary Ricojudge Echiverri told CNN Philippines on Friday that they do have qualms about Robredo joining them in the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), as she is part of the opposition.

Echiverri also said that 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.

Cleaning up lists

Robredo, who now heads the ICAD alongside Aquino, said that among her priorities is to clean up the list of drug users. In Naga, she said, the list has not been updated since 2016, leaving some users who have already been rehabilitated in the list.

Baka iyong integrity ng listahan may problema, kasi dagdag lang nang dagdag, pero hindi nababawas—hindi name-measure iyong success noong rehabilitation. So kapag tiningnan mo iyong numero, hindi siya nagbabawas, kahit ang dami nang intervention na ginagawa,” she said.

[Translation: Maybe the integrity of the list has a problem, because names just keep on getting added but none are removed — the success of the drug rehabilitation program is not being measured. So when you look at the numbers, nothing is getting subtracted, even if a lot of interventions are being done.]