MANILA - Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday said the United States shared intelligence information with her during their Wednesday meeting.
Speaking to reporters, Robredo, recently appointed co-chair of the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), begged off giving further details, saying she could not discuss sensitive information publicly.
“Mayroon silang assessment. Sinabi nila kung ano 'yung mga syndicates na nandito sa Pilipinas. 'Yung transactional crimes na nangyayari, 'yung mga detalye na some of them mayroon na din tayo. Lumabas na sa mga prior briefings,” she said when asked of her meeting with US officials Wednesday.
(They have an assessment. They talked about the syndicates operating inside the Philippines, the transactional crimes happening and some details that we already have or have been discussed in prior briefings.)
She said what was most important was the pledge to enhance the partnership between the two countries in the fight against illegal drugs.
“May commitment ang US to not just continue with the help that they have been giving already, but to even expand,” she said, emphasizing the focus on prevention and community-based rehabilitation for drug addicts.
(The US has a commitment to not just continue with the help that they have been giving already but to even expand.)
“And sinabi nila that they are willing to help more—and committing themselves to help more. Ang kailangan lang siguro maipakita natin sa kanila kung ano ang ating programa para suportahan nila,” Robredo said.
(They said they are willing to help more—and committing themselves to help more. What we probably just need is to show them what programs they can support.)
“Sinabi ko din sa kanila na we want to look into international standards and best practices. Not to copy them pero para maging peg for us to craft our own,” she said.
(I told them that we want to look into international standards and best practices. Not to copy them but to use it as a peg for us to craft our own.)
Present in the meeting Robredo requested were representatives from the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs of the US State Department, the US Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
The United States has had a close relationship with the Philippines for many years. But, early in his term, President Rodrigo Duterte criticized the US government for meddling in local affairs, scoffing at criticism of some US officials about his drug war.
In November 2016, the US State Department halted a supposed rifle sale to the Philippines on the objection of a US senator who decried Duterte's human rights record.
In June this year, Duterte said he would reconsider, saying he "likes" US President Donald Trump, who he has met a few times.
Robredo emphasized she was not just looking at the US or the United Nations but also at other countries who could help.
Robredo said they are also gathering best practices for local areas.
The Vice President has repeatedly said that the drug campaign she wants to pursue will be humane and evidence-based. She said she plans to gather as much information from international and local groups.
The US has long been supporting the Philippines' anti-drug efforts, from providing intelligence information that has led to major busts to training on drug enforcement and rehabilitation.