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Still no plan from drug czarina

“Does she have to shout out loud about her meetings with the US and United Nations officials as if this was such an important aspect to win the war on drugs?

Ninez Cacho-Olivares

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One would have thought that before accepting a job offer, a plan of sorts would already have been, at the very least, researched on what the job entails and have an outline of a proposal.

Not so, in the case of Leni Robredo, who, from all angles, appears to be a square peg in a round drug hole, as it has been well over two weeks to the day she accepted the challenge from President Duterte to take on the job as “co-chair” of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD).

Going by the media reports on her as the drug czarina, she has, thus far, met with the ICAD heads and members, met with the US Embassy officials whom she had invited to partner with her, along with her blabbing to the media that the US has pinpointed to China as the biggest drug supplier, as though it was a eureka moment experienced. Hello. That’s been known for some time, and even the ICAD certainly knew about drug supplies coming from China, as well as other neighboring countries.

But the way Leni made it out, it was as if this was the biggest discovery in the world. As she put it, “Even those who have been arrested that are operating here in the Philippines, many of them are Chinese nationals or Filipino-Chinese nationals. So, it is something that we should look into.”

She also plans to meet with Chinese Embassy officials, but said she would first determine relevant information needed from Beijing and other government partners, saying, “From what I know, even before I was appointed, there have been a lot of information exchanges with the Chinese government with many governments.”

Does she have to shout out loud about her meetings with the US and United Nations officials as if this was such an important aspect to win the war on drugs?

Local authorities, especially the ICAD officials, have held meetings with US officials, but they don’t make a big deal out of it. They do their work without bragging about meeting embassy officials.

Leni wants the authorities to look deeper into reports that the bulk of illegal drugs seized or circulating in the country coming in are from China, as if the authorities have been sleeping on the job.

Obviously, Leni and her yellows, who have criticized every aspect of the drug war, still refuse to credit the Duterte administration with the many bulk drug seizures done by the same anti-drug authorities, and have also pinpointed the Chinese-Filipino drug lords and their drug dens. Instead, she and her yellows screamed about the killings!

Already, an official of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) reportedly expressed apprehension over the Vice President’s role as the drug czarina, saying shared information could be used against law enforcers.

“What we are looking at is, is she really for real in helping us or looking into things that might be used against us?” said DILG Undersecretary for External and Legislative Affairs Ricojudge Echiverri, admitting he has “mixed feelings” on the designation of Robredo as ICAD”s co-chair.

He added that ICAD members have concerns on how to handle confidential information, especially those that involve public and national security, and how to share these with Robredo, who has been known to blab without thinking things out through.

That’s one problem she has. Another is that Leni has, to this day, nothing to show by way of a plan, which can also be gleaned from what she now has been suggesting, which is to bring back the practice of tokhang, a police operation against drug addicts/pushers that she had earlier relentlessly condemned as murderous.

Now that she is in the seat and evidently having zero plan to effectively curb the drug menace, she now says a “rethinking” of Oplan “Tokhang” is in order, with Leni saying that the Philippine National Police agreed on the need for improvement in the drug war known by the term now associated with thousands of deaths and police abuse.

“I reiterated my suggestion for them to rethink the campaign, especially tokhang,” Robredo said after meeting the ICAD heads. She wants a “Tokhang” without deaths, even has she has no data on how many drug addicts, pushers and dealers were killed during the tokhang ops.

She also pointed to another Duterte-type project called “Double Barrel,” noting the gaps in it, saying, “If you read Project ‘Double Barrel,’ you will see that it is laid out well. But obviously, there are gaps because there were abuses on how it was implemented.”

So, what’s the drug czarina’s yellow plan to eliminate the drug menace in the country?

She still calls for an end to the senseless killings, but now says the police have assured her that they are doing their best to address the matter, including coming up with their internal cleansing and holding those behind the killings accountable, which have been done before.

The way it looks, Leni has no plan at all, and she is now forced to continue with more of the same plan that Duterte had, but she still refuses to give Duterte the credit for his successes in his war on drugs.

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