By Raymund Antonio
Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo on Sunday stood her ground and maintained that the administration’s anti-illegal drugs campaign was “not working.”
Speaking in her weekly radio show, Robredo cited the growing number of drug addicts nationwide, which President Rodrigo Duterte, himself, disclosed.
“Sa kaniyang speech, 4 million na ang drug addicts noong 2017. So from 2016 to 2017, kahit in full swing iyong drug war, from 1.8 million, naging 4 million. Noong February of 2019, sa speech ulit ni Pangulo, sinasabi niya na 7 to 8 million na ang drug users,” she said.
(In his speech, the number of drug addicts was 4 million in 2017. So from 2016 to 2017, even if the drug war was in full swing, from 1.8 million, it became 4 million. In February of 2019, in his speech again, he said that the number of drug users was 7 to 8.)
“Ano ba iyong mali sa sinabi natin? Na iyong datos natin galing lahat sa pamahalaan?” Robredo asked during her “BISErbisyong Leni” radio show.
(What did I say wrong? All of our data came from the government.)
The Vice President explained the current strategy of the Duterte administration to fight illegal drugs is not working due to a number of reasons. Among these were the rising number of drug war deaths and drug users, including the police being linked to illegal drugs.
“I’m not saying everything is wrong, but what I’m saying is that maybe we can assess what’s wrong with what we are doing,” she said in Filipino.
Robredo found herself on the receiving end of attacks from Malacañang, which accused her of “echoing the lies and black propaganda of some of her colleagues in the political opposition.”
The Vice President said the administration should not be “onion-skinned” when she is critical of some of its policies.
“We should not be onion-skinned, because in line with this is our reputation as a country. The lives of our countrymen are at risk here,” she said.
“If there is something wrong, the first step is to accept it. Because if we won’t, we can’t achieve change,” the opposition leader stressed.
While Robredo stood by her remarks, she clarified she wanted the government to “asses and tweak” its campaign against illegal drugs contrary to a Reuters report she called for an end to Duterte’s drug war.
“Ang sinabi ko lang, baka kailangan mag-step back ang gobyerno, i-assess kung ano iyong mali sa kampanya,” the Vice President said.
(What I only said there is a need for the government to take a step back, assess what is wrong in the campaign.)