The Philippine National Police on Monday agreed with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency that they would disclose the contents of intelligence reports on high-value targets in the war on drugs to vice president and anti-drug czar Leni Robredo, only in a closed-door meeting.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday clarified the appointment of Vice President Leni Robredo as the administration’s anti-drug czar does not carry a Cabinet rank. “She is not a member of the Cabinet. I have not
appointed her as a Cabinet member,” Duterte said in an exclusive interview with GMA-7.
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“Remember, the PDEA is the head of the law enforcement cluster… whatever the head says, I will always respect it,” said PNP officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa.
Gamboa said the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs has four clusters and the vice president should focus on the drug war’s aspect of advocacy and rehabilitation.
He said since the vice president sees illegal drugs as a health problem, she could focus on advocacy and rehabilitation.
“Would it really matter who are on the list?” he said after Robredo had asked for a roster of high-value targets.
Gamboa added that the law enforcement and prosecution aspect of the government’s anti-illegal drugs should be left to the PNP, PDEA as well as the National Bureau of Investigation.
PDEA chief Aaron Aquino has said the list of high-value targets is considered classified information, which should not be disclosed to just anybody.
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“The simplest explanation is that if we give the list to VP Robredo, we won’t know who would have access to the list,” Aquino said.
Aquino also cited the “need to know the rule” in law enforcement where not everybody is given access to sensitive and classified information.
“I myself have no copy of the list in my possession,” he said.
Aquino also clarified that this is not an act of resistance or disrespect toward the vice president but just a standard operation procedure.
“Imagine what will happen to the efforts of law enforcement if that list landed on the wrong hands,” Aquino said.
Robredo on Monday vowed not to leak classified information with the United Nations and other foreign investigators should she be provided a copy of the list of high-value targets in the anti-drug war.
She said she would not insist on obtaining the list of high-value target if the members of ICAD decline to furnish her a copy.
Robredo was appointed as co-chairperson of ICAD.
The Palace warned Robredo that access to documents with classified information was not within her authority.
Also on Monday, Senator Panfilo Lacson described as a “fair warning” the threat of President Rodrigo Duterte to remove Robredo from ICAD.
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“Nobody, not even the second-highest official of the land should be allowed to share with anybody, much less foreign country classified information that could compromise national security,” he 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,” he said.
“Violators are liable for the crime of espionage,” Lacson added.
Meanwhile, a leader of the House of Representatives called on Robredo to exercise prudence in her job as co-chairperson of ICAD by respecting the processes in place that aim to protect the confidentiality of the government’s list of high-value targets in the anti-drug war.
Rep. Robert Ace Barbers of Surigao del Norte said that while Aquino has already expressed willingness to provide Robredo the list, he believes that this is unnecessary given the confidential nature of the information, which could fall into the wrong hands. With PNA
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