Philippine National Police (PNP) Officer in Charge Lt. Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa on Monday told Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo not to interfere in drug operations.
“Law enforcement and prosecution should be best left to those who know it,” Gamboa said in an interview with reporters.
Robredo, he added, should leave operations against illegal drugs to the PNP, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), National Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice.
He said the vice president, as co-chairman of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), should instead focus on advocacy and rehabilitation.
“Why would VP not take advocacy and rehabilitation? Pasok ‘yung sinasabi n’ya (It fits what she has been saying) that illegal drugs are actually a health problem, so probably that can fall on advocacy and rehabilitation,” Gamboa said.
He added that Robredo should only “review” the law enforcement campaign.
“Would it really matter if you know who are on the list?” Gamboa asked.
The acting PNP chief agreed with PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino that the high-value targets list should not be given to Robredo.
“Remember, the PDEA is the head of the law enforcement cluster, whatever the head says, I will always respect it, being a member of the law enforcement… so yes, I adhere to what the director general says,” Gamboa said.
On Saturday, Aquino said sharing the list with Robredo might compromise drug operations.
“Sa pinakasimpleng explanation — kapag binigay namin ang listahan kay VP Robredo, hindi na namin alam kung sinu-sino ang magkakaroon ng access sa listahan (Simply put, if we give the list to VP Robredo, we will not know who will have access to it). That will compromise our operations,” Aquino said in a statement.
He added that only those who have security clearance are given access to classified information.
“I myself have no copy of the list in my possession. What I am doing is I check it from time to time with my intelligence service and conduct workshops against these personalities,” he explained.
“Imagine what will happen to the efforts of law enforcement if that list landed on wrong hands?” Aquino added.
Aquino is the co-chairman of ICAD.
Robredo has demanded that she be given all information regarding the drug war.
She gave assurances on Monday that she has no intention of revealing sensitive information that would endanger the security of the state.
Emerging from a Senate plenary deliberation, where she defended the P664.8-million proposed budget of her office for 2020, Robredo told reporters she would not disclose sensitive information on the anti-drug campaign of the government.
“’Yung assurance naman lahat ng sensitive information hindi idi-disclose,” the vice president said when asked about President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement that she would be fired as ICAD co-chairman if she shares confidential information on the drug war with other countries.
The President over the weekend threatened to fire Robredo as ICAD co-chairman if she discloses sensitive matters of the government that will endanger the security of the state.
“There’s a limit to that. I know that she’s a lawyer and she has other advisers… There are certain matters that should be kept with the government, that classified matters cannot be shared. Once [she does] that, she’s out, I would fire her. Because you jeopardized the security of the state,” the President had said.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson considered Duterte’s statement “fair warning.”