By Mario Casayuran
The threat of President Duterte that he could pull out Vice President Leni Robredo from her new role as vice chairman of the Inter-Agency Committee on Illegal Drugs (ICAD) should come as “a fair warning” to her, Senator Panfilo M. Lacson said Monday.
Lacson, chairman of the Senate Public Order and Dangerous Drugs Committee, issued the statement after Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Aaron Aquino denied Robredo’s request for a list of high value targets (HVTs) in the country’s war against illegal drugs.
Aquino is Robredo’s co-chairman at ICAD.
Critics expressed fears that there could be a leak if such a list was given to Robredo.
‘’That is a fair warning. Nobody, not even the second-highest official of the land, should be allowed to share with anybody, much less a foreign country classified information that could compromise national security,’’ Lacson, a former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, said.
‘’I’m sure the Vice President or any responsible high government official is aware of that basic rule in the handling of classified materials. Violators are liable for the crime of espionage,’’ he added.
Opposition Senator Francis N. Pangilinan, president of the Liberal Party (LP), said the Vice President has already spoken saying she knew what to do regarding state secrets.
‘’She need not be told or reminded what to do,’’ he added.
In a related development, Lacson said that the P283-million budget for the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) was increased under the proposed 2020 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) by the House of Representatives to P533.6 million.
The Senate added another P20 million to augment funds for program monitoring and evaluation of the Philippine anti-illegal drug strategy (PADS), he added.