PDEA chair: Robredo can focus on rehabilitation, reintegration of drug users

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 05 2019 03:38 PM | Updated as of Nov 05 2019 10:17 PM

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MANILA - The country's anti-drug agency chief welcomed Tuesday the appointment of Vice President Leni Robredo as co-chair of government's campaign against illegal drugs, even if he earlier said the second highest official lacked experience.

"We believe that she can well contribute as a good leader, particularly on the advocacy cluster and rehabilitation and reintegration cluster," said Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chief Aaron Aquino, who heads government's inter-agency committee on anti-illegal drugs (ICAD).

"By designating her as co-chairman of ICAD, it will greatly help and it’s nice to see when everybody’s working together," he added.

On Monday, the PDEA chief said Robredo was "not abreast with the supply reduction efforts and lacks experience in dealing and working with law enforcers." He also said Robredo had "a lot of catching up to do and in the process PDEA is afraid that it will somehow derail its efforts and operations."

Now, Aquino said it would be nice for Robredo to accept Duterte's appointment

"There’s a lot of criticisms that have been made, I just hope we’ll just work together. It’s better if we do that...I will work and support the VP 100 percent," he told ANC. 

Aquino said Robredo would be best suited to lead the rehabilitation efforts for drug users, as he admitted that the clusters were not "properly managed at this time."

"We have a lot of Bahay Pagasa that is not being used. I just hope the Vice President will accept the designation and there will be a better approach on these particular clusters," he said.

Some 6,000 drug suspects have been killed in police operations since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office in 2016, but rights groups say the numbers were much higher.