Robredo denies urging admin to halt drug war

  • The Philippines’ Vice President on Sunday denied that she wants the Duterte administration to stop its war on drugs
  • Vice President Leni Robredo said what’s needed is a reassessment of the campaign due to rising number of drug addicts since Duterte took office in 2016
  • Duterte previously said that from 1.8 million, the number of drug addicts only grew to 4 million in 2017, but recently noted that the number has only risen to “7 to 8 million.”

MANILA, Philippines—Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo denied over the weekend that she seeks to end the drug war campaign, but clarified that she wants the administration to re-assess its implementation. 

In her weekly radio show on Sunday, the Vice President reiterated that contrary to what has been written on the headlines over the past week, she rather wanted the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte to emphasize on the lapses of the drug war, specifically the growing number of drug addicts despite the campaign going on full swing since 2016. 

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Via ABS-CBN News

Robredo noted that she agrees with the President’s campaign vision in the first place since he took office.

“Let’s get back to the numbers so it’s clear to everyone. The Dangerous Drugs Board said in 2016 that we have 1.8 mllion drug users. When this administration entered, this was their core campaign, the illegal drugs, to which I agree that they should really focus on because it has really plagued the country,” Robredo said in a mix of English and Filipino during the interview.

She acknowledged that it was Duterte who said in his past speeches that from 1.8 million, the number of drug addicts only grew to 4 million in 2017, but noted that the President recently admitted that the number has only risen to “7 to 8 million.”

“The numbers did not come from me. The numbers came from the President himself. So, what was wrong with what I said? Isn’t it just right for the administration to assess what went wrong in that campaign,” Robredo added.

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo previously criticized Robredo’s statement against the campaign, saying that the Vice President, who chairs the Liberal Party, only “echoed” the lies brought by her colleagues from the opposition.

 “Too many people are dying. We don’t even know the exact numbers because there is a debate about the exact numbers…but if the number just keeps on rising, you definitely need to assess, more so with the recent controversies of authorities abusing their mandate,” said Robredo. 

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Former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief director general Oscar Albayalde has resigned after his involvement in the “ninja cops” sandal, which involves authorities recycling drugs that were seized from narcotics operations.

Data from the Philippine National Police showed that there have been at least 5,000 deaths related to the government’s drug war as of January 2019.

Various rights groups, however, have maintained that the death toll has reached more than 27,000 since Duterte was hailed the President in 2016. —Manila Times


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