VP Leni’s tack

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    VICE President Leonor “Leni” Robredo had met with Sen. Panfilo Lacson for the nitty-gritty part of her participation in the government’s anti-illegal drugs war as co-chairman of the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-illegal Drugs (Icad). She will be working with Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director Aaron Aquino.

    Mrs. Robredo received the advice from the senator, who is perhaps one of the most competent advisers she could turn to on the matter of illegal drugs. A former chief of the Philippine National Police and senator of many years, Lacson knows the ins and outs of the drugs trade, perhaps even the dramatis personae in this shady and secretive criminal society.

    At the outset, it seems Robredo agreed with Lacson that – in the senator’s own words – “it would be better if we would refocus, shift the strategy on fighting drugs to supply constriction.”

    Lacson noted that the focus of President Duterte’s efforts against illegal drugs has been on the demand side, which targets mostly drug users and street peddlers. Focusing on supply means making the street value of drugs prohibitive and taking down big-time dealers.

    The Vice President need not be reminded that she needed a reliable group of honest and hardworking lawmen to assist her in this new job, and Lacson is willing to recommend officers who have retired and still in the service to assist Robredo. New to the job and without any experience in actual police work, the VP indeed has to rely on the experts.

    As Sen. Lacson said, it is important for the Vice President to have a group of people she could trust and who could be relied upon to tell her about policemen “who are straying from the proper path and committing wrongs. There are a lot of characters in this world she entered. She should really watch her back all the time.”

    Vice President Robredo’s latest announcement is that she will meet with United States embassy officials this week to ask for help as she takes on her new job in the Duterte administration. She said her committee would need the help of the US in intelligence-gathering.

    While this is true, we cannot help but caution her that anything from the US on the matter of drugs, transnational crimes, politics and the economy should still be scrutinized by our top officials like her.

    China, Mexico, the US, Taiwan, South America and Asean countries have been identified as sources of illegal drugs coming in or transiting the Philippines and the authorities in these places should also be heard on the matter of intelligence gathering and global cooperation.