MANILA, Philippines — Newly-appointed Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (IAC-AID) co-chair Vice President Leni Robredo said Friday (15 November 2019) the Philippine government needs to look into allegations that the bulk of illegal drugs smuggled into the country are coming from China.
China is now perceived to be a major ally of the Duterte Administration.
Newspaper reports claim Robredo allegedly wants “more information after learning that China is the largest source of narcotics traded in the Philippines, following a meeting with the law enforcement cluster of the IAC-AID she is now co-chairs.
“Even those who are arrested that operate within the Philippines, they are mostly Chinese nationals or [Chinese-Filipinos]. So it is something that we should look into,” she said.
Robredo said she had too much information about PH’s drug war “but what is needed is to be organized to improve the government’s counternarcotics program.”
Recently, Robredo met with U.S. officials to discuss the campaign against illegal drugs on a new platform, point of view.
He said the U.S. authorities, including agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), shared information about drug syndicates operating in the Philippines, as well as transnational crime data.
Robredo said some of the details they provided were already known to the Philippine government.
The veep declined to answer sensitive information, but she said “our interest is really how to use the data that we have in moving forward.”
Sen. Panfilo Lacson, a former Philippine National Police chief and now Robredo’s advisor, said Thursday that U.S. assistance is not to be construed as foreign intervention.
He said that U.S. law enforcement agents in the Philippines could not participate, but could provide intelligence.
“Who would not welcome intelligence information from any source? They get intelligence information from members of the syndicate. Why would it be wrong to get intelligence information from counterparts? If you decline the information, it would be a waste,” Lacson told reporters.
Robredo instructed them to generate consistent baseline information on the drug situation in the country by year-end during their meeting with law enforcers on the interagency committee yesterday, Thursday.
“As of now, there are no clear baselines so that’s what we are working on,” Robredo said, stressing the importance of the needed information to the campaign against illegal drugs. (Chris Figueroa/IAMIGO/CNS)