By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman described on Sunday as “utterly unnecessary” President Duterte’s threat against Vice President Leni Robredo over possible disclosure of “state secrets” on illegal drugs.
The veteran lawmaker even questioned the move of the Chief Executive to elevate the list of high-profile narcotics traders and users, as well as the records of those involved in extrajudicial killings related to the war on illegal drugs, to the status of “state secrets”.
“It is utterly unnecessary for President Rodrigo Duterte to threaten Vice President Leni Robredo with dismissal as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) if she would reveal “state secrets” on illegal drugs,” he said in a statement.
“Robredo knows only too well that “state secrets” must not be made public nor shared with unauthorized persons in order not to jeopardize national security and she would treat classified information given to her as confidential,” he added.
President Duterte earlier said he would not think twice about firing Robredo as co-chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) if she would publicly reveal classified and confidential issues related to the illegal drugs situation and drug suspects in the country. He said revealing classified matters might “jeopardize the security of the state.”
“But why should the narco list of high profile narcotics traders and users as well as the records of those involved in extrajudicial killings related to the brutal war on drugs be elevated to the status of “state secrets?” Lagman asked.
“In America’s Old West and until now in most countries, the watchlist of dangerous criminal suspects are publicly released and posted to prevent their commission of more crimes and help in their capture,” he pointed out.
He even turned the tables on the President, who in several instances, publicly disclosed the list of those involved in illegal drugs, including politicians.
“No less than Duterte has previously released on several occasions the names of high profile suspects in the drug list which included businessmen, politicians, generals and police officers, among others,” Lagman said.
President Duterte insisted that “there are certain matters that should be kept with the government, that classified matters cannot be shared.”
On November 6, 2019, Robredo accepted the drug czar post offered by President Duterte to her. She was given at least six months to lead the government’s war on illegal drugs.