A week after taking over the post as anti-drugs czarina, the hidden agenda of Vice President Leni Robredo may have started to unravel.
Her co-chair in the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), which assembles law enforcement agencies involved in the campaign against narcotics, had started to express reservations on delicate data she wanted secured.
Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief Aaron Aquino said Robredo wanted to have her hand on a list of high-value targets who are the bosses of the biggest drug syndicates in the country.
The worry among ICAD members is Robredo compromising the whole anti-narcotics campaign the success of which rests on ticking off names on the list.
Just a week after assuming her post and after half admitting that she knows nothing about the extent of the anti-narcotics operations, the czarina now wanted law enforcers to surrender all the information gathered in the whole three years of the war on drugs to her.
“She was asking for lists. For example, the list of high-value targets. So, I think why would she need it in the first place? It is not in our mandate that we should get a list of high-value targets,” Aquino said.
He had disputed the claim of Robredo that most of the narcotics in the country came from China as he said the real source is the Golden Triangle in Southeast Asia.
There are suspicions that Robredo is having her moves coordinated, thus the impossible demands that included records during the early stages of the drug war.
Rody had been accused by the yellow mob of exporting his vigilante crusade against drugs in Davao City when he was mayor through the so-called Davao Death Squad to a nationwide scale.
An ICAD member, Interior Undersecretary Ricojudge Echiverri, expressed the same apprehensions as that of the PDEA chief as he said other members of the committee were also uneasy with the addition of Robredo, given the fact that she has been vocal against the failures of the drug war.
Echiverri said the main concern of ICAD members would be that of the whole program of Rody being compromised with Robredo as co-chair extracting vital information the use of which they are not privy to.
The worry is very real, according to Echiverri, since they are not sure about the real intents of Robredo and the actions she had taken thus far.
“You are already part of the group that finds the proper solution,” was his advice to Robredo.
The release of a supposed study circulated in the yellow media and their social media adjuncts about the prospects of succession did not help at all.
The speculative study of London-based Capital Economics stated that “in case Vice President Leni Robredo replaces President Rodrigo Duterte due to health issues hounding the President, the prospect of more foreign investors being lured into the Philippines is likely.”
The apparently yellow mob-induced study even had a disclaimer, saying the think tank “doesn’t know much about the direction Robredo would take economically,” but it still gave the view that “a change in President would probably be welcomed by investors.”
It peddled the lie that since Duterte took office, “approved foreign investments have been much lower than previous years.”
Anybody who knows the investment situation in the country, however, would know that the assessment is a total canard since during the yellow regime of former President Noynoy Aquino, foreign investments in the country were anemic and the lowest in the region largely because of unstable policies.
In 2018, foreign investments were at $6.45 billion, which, despite falling from the previous year, was still way above the average $1.4 billion during the six years of Noynoy.
The upward momentum on foreign direct investments had also been assured with the passing of tough economic measures under the ongoing comprehensive tax reform program which is currently in its second phase.
Thus far, the moves of Robredo and the yellow mob remain synchronized toward the aim of boosting her popularity, while pulling down that of Rody in preparation for 2022.
The list of top dogs in the drugs trade definitely would come in handy when fund-raising season begins.