MANILA - Following her talks with the United States, Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday said she was open to meeting with other countries who have information that can help the country’s anti-illegal drugs campaign.
Asked if she would seek a meeting with China, which has become a close ally of the Duterte administration, Robredo said: “Pag-aaralan muna natin kung anong mga bansa ang pinaka-urgent information na kailangan natin.”
(We’ll study first which countries have the most urgent information that we need.)
Robredo was recently appointed co-chair of the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) by President Rodrigo Duterte, a move some opposition personalities say is meant to be a trap to shame the Vice President.
But Robredo believes accepting the appointment is a way for her to prevent unnecessary killings brought about by the controversial drug war.
On Wednesday, Robredo met with representatives of the United States to discuss how they could assist the Philippines in its counter-narcotics campaign. The US embassy said the meeting was initiated by the Vice President’s camp.
As for China, Robredo said the Chinese government has in the past shared information on drug-related concerns, just like other nations.
China is known to be among nations where illegal drug shipments come from. Several Chinese suspects have also been arrested in the Philippines.
“Yung sa akin, gusto kong kumalap ng mas maraming datos,” she said. “Kasi ang pinaka-report sa atin karamihan sa mga suplay (ng droga) na pumapasok dito galing China.”
(What I want is to gather as much data. Because it was reported to us that majority of the supply of illegal drugs entering the country comes from China.)
“Pati 'yung mga nahuhuli na nag-o-operate within the Philippines karamihan Chinese nationals or Filipino-Chinese nationals. So, it is something we should look into,” she said.
(Even those arrested for operating within the Philippines are Chinese nationals or Filipino-Chinese nationals. So, it is something we should look into.)
In an interview with reporters, Robredo also mentioned the evolving strategies of drug syndicates, including money laundering through casinos and Philippine offshore gaming operators.
While the United States has long been an ally of the Philippines, Duterte has repeatedly criticized the US for its supposed meddling in local affairs. His foreign policy also includes a “pivot” to China and countries like Russia.
However, recent surveys have shown that the Filipino public do not fully believe that China has good intentions