The Daily Manila Shimbun


Robredo says ”senseless killings” in war vs drugs ”diminish” gov’t efforts

November 8, 2019

Vice President Leni Robredo on Friday told law enforcement agencies their efforts "diminish" when "senseless killings" happen in the government's campaign against illegal drugs.

During her first meeting as a co-chair of Inter-agency Council on Anti-Illegal drugs in Quezon City, Robredo said in her opening statement that she wants a new strategy on accomplishing the campaign.

"I’ve always been very vocal about my opposition against the killings that accompanied Operation Tokhang. For me, knocking, searching, is okay but because of the many senseless killings that accompanied Operation Tokhang. It looks like it reach a certain level of notoriety that when it says Tokhang, it is a war against the poor," she said.

"I think it is upon us, it is incumbent upon us to change the mindset. Maybe it's time to think on changing something on the campaign of much effective but no one dies senselessly," she added.

Robredo said she is for evidence-based strategy and approach.

Robredo added she believes anything can happen during police operations.

"But we are against on planning (the killing) and killing without reason... that is my position about it —and I want to take this opportunity to contribute in whatever way I can," she said.

"When the President appointed me as co-chair of PDEA in ICAD, I want to look at it as a signal that the President is open to listen to a fresh perspective about the entire campaign. I also want to look at it as an agreement that it is time for us to objectively assess what we have been doing over the past years," she added.

Robredo commended the actions taken by the administration.

"I know that DILG has been in the forefront of really activating all the local government units. I have talked to so many local government units and they have been actively helping in the campaign against illegal drugs, and that is very commendable," she said.

"Everyone else has been contributing to this. But for me, if there are killings, efforts are being diminish," Robredo added.

Robredo believe drug addiction is a serious problem that the country is facing.

"I am all for a strong national policy against illegal drugs, and I am all for a vigorous anti-drug campaign. But having said that, I also feel that we should do things right. Everything that we’re doing should be within the bounds of the rule of law," she said.

"We should also look at it not just using the lens of crime, or criminal justice, but also using the lens of health and the fact that addiction is a medical and a sociological problem," she added.

Robredo said she have been reading all documents connected with what ICAD has been doing.

"And I'm thankful on all the efforts being given by everyone for us to achieve our goals," she said.  Ella Dionisio/DMS