By Ben Rosario
Senior opposition Rep. Edcel Lagman on Friday raised serious apprehensions over the success of Vice President Leni Robredo’s role in the anti-drug campaign, pointing out that funding problems puts it in the direction of failure.
Lagman, a key official of Liberal Party which Robredo heads, said an antidote to failure would be the re-alignment of the multi-million peso Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Office of the President (OP) budget for the anti-drug war to the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) which the vice president co-chairs.
Lagman said President Rodrigo Duterte should also contribute to the funding of ICAD by shedding funds from his “huge intelligence and confidential funds” amounting to P4.5 billiion.
The veteran lawmaker said PNP’s appropriations to sustain the bloody war on illegal drugs and related intelligence outlay provided in the proposed 2020 appropriations should ”be specifically reallocated to ICAD to support Robredo’s non-violent and innovative approaches to solve the drug menace.”
“Inadequacy of funding support will imperil the success of Vice President Leni Robredo as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD),” he warned.
“In the proposed 2020 national budget, there is no line item for the funding of the ICAD, although it is claimed that a measly amount of P15-M is included in the miscellaneous and other operating expenses (MOOE) of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) for the ICAD,” explained the opposition solon
Earlier, Lagman warned Robredo against accepting Duterte’s offer to –co-chair ICAD, insisting that she was being “set up to fail.”
Robredo did not heed the warning as she accepted the new job offered by the president.
“The diluted position validates the fear that the Vice President is being set up to fail,’ said Lagman.
Lagman said Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief Aaron Aquino, who will co-chair ICAD, had “ominously predicted that Robredo would fail.”
“The Vice President is being thrown into a composite of an inter-agency committee with no less than 20 agencies as members pursuant to Executive Order No. 15 which created the ICAD on March 6, 2017,” the opposition solon pointed out.
He added: “As Co-Chair of ICAD, the Vice President, before she could act, will have to contend with the Chair and the multiple membership of ICAD.”