Panelo on VP’s drug report: ‘Absurd,’ ‘pathetic’ try to ‘deface’ gov’t anti-drug campaign

Published January 6, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Genalyn Kabiling

Malacañang branded Vice President Leni Robredo’s report on the Duterte administration’s drug war an “absurd” and “pathetic” attempt to “deface” the government’s anti-drug efforts.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo (PCOO / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo (PCOO / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential Spokesman Savaldor Panelo said Robredo merely wanted to “rain on the parade” of the administration’s gains on the anti-drug front and obtain relevance.

Robredo branded the administration’s war on drugs a “massive failure” based on her discovery that authorities seized only one percent of the shabu (crystal methamphetamine) that flooded the country in the past three years.

“The VP’s resort to baseless extrapolations in order to arrive at such figure, and deface the efforts of this Administration in eliminating illegal drugs in the country, is not only absurd but pathetic as well,” Panelo said in a statement. “When she speaks of failure, she must be referring to her failure as a co- chairperson of the ICAD (Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs).”

After some delay, Robredo has finally presented to the public her findings and recommendations on the drug war, following her brief appointment as anti-drug war czar. She served less than three weeks as ICAD co-chair last November, the President firing her for allegedly consulting with foreigners and seeking confidential information, among others.

Panelo has dismissed Robredo’s drug war report as a “dud.”

“It was a rehash of old allegations of the political opposition which she leads, a mere antic reflecting her camp’s desperation for relevance at a time where an overwhelming number of Filipinos, or eight out of ten of us, support the current strategy of the government against illegal substance,” he said.

Panelo also argued that the anti-drug campaign, which helped lower crime rate, is considered a “rousing success,” contrary to Robredo’s claim that it is a failure.

He cited the government’s accomplishments in the anti-drug campaign, saying law enforcement agencies have conducted 162,987 anti-drug operations and arrested 225,284 drug personalities. At least 16,706 out of 33,881 barangays have been cleared from drugs while authorities have seized P45 billion worth of illegal drugs.

“As of November 2019, causing the surrender of 485,295 individuals who underwent reformation programs cannot by any stretch be a failure,” he said. “A situation where Filipinos enjoy a reduction of nationwide crime incidents from 11,860 in July 2016 to just 5,000 in 2019 of the same month is a rousing success by any standard.”

Also, Panelo said there is no truth to Robredo’s allegation that the drug war is focused on street-level pushers. He said Robredo is “blind” to the fact that it was only during this administration that narco-politicians “from barangay officials to a sitting Senator of the Republic” have been apprehended in the drug net.

“The measures undertaken against upper and middle-level high value targets engaged in the trafficking of commercial quantities of illegal drugs are extant and are part of the intelligence-driven anti-illegal drugs campaign of the Philippine National Police,” he added.