Robredo, Gamboa agree: Oplan Tokhang will continue

Maris Federez   •   November 14, 2019   •   842

Operatives of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) try to restrain a woman who exhibited suspicious behavior and claimed to be ‘associated with the military’ during an anti-illegal drugs operation in Makati City, east of Manila, Philippines, 06 April 2017. EPA/ROLEX DELA PENA (FILE)

MANILA, Philippines – The implementation of Oplan Tokhang will continue as part of the anti-illegal drugs campaign of the government.

According to PNP-OIC PLtGen. Archie Gamboa, this is part of the agreement they reached with Vice President Leni Robredo during their meeting on Thursday (Nov. 14).

The Vice President has earlier said that she wants to scrap the Oplan Tokhang which was also referred to as Oplan Tokbang by critics due to the reported high number of deaths of drug suspects for allegedly resisting arrest.

“We were able to convince her na meron lang probably re-packaging or re-tooling of how it is going to be presented but she is convinced that indeed the Philippine anti-drug strategy is already a strategy that can be adopted outright,” Gamboa said.

“She’s also convinced na yung tokhang ay hindi naman. Bisaya kasi kami, ‘tokhang’ came from a Visayan word. Kung titingnan mo yun, there’s no killing in tokhang,” he added.  (with details from Lea Ylagan) /mbmf

Duterte admitted not trusting Robredo so that she will resign – Lacson

Maris Federez   •   November 20, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte just wants Vice President Leni Robredo out as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) that’s why he announced that he doesn’t trust her, Senator Panfilo Lacson said.

He added that the President just wants the vice president to voluntarily resign from her assigned post.

“Obviously, the President wants her out without firing her, meaning he is leaving it up to her to take the initiative and tender her resignation,” Lacson said.

The senator pointed out that there will be nothing more to expect from the 20-member agencies of ICAD if the President himself admitted not trusting Vice President Robredo.

“If the chief executive who is also the CIC of all armed forces in the country has openly declared that he doesn’t trust her, what does she expect from all 20 member-agencies under the ICAD,” Lacson stressed. (with details from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

PNP agrees with PDEA not to give Robredo list of high-value drug targets

Maris Federez   •   November 18, 2019

PNP Officer-in-Charge PLtGen. Archie Gamboa

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) will conform with whatever decision the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) will come up with on furnishing Vice President Leni Robredo a copy of their list of high-value targets, in her capacity as co-chair of the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD).

This after PDEA Director-General Aaron Aquino said that he is ready to present the said list to Robredo but only on closed-door meeting in the presence of personnel with security clearance.

Aquino has earlier refused to have the vice president furnished with the copy as it may compromise their operation, saying “the list is considered classified information that is why not everybody must have a copy of it.”
 
He added that if the list is given to the vice president, they will not have a way of knowing who else might see and learn of its content.

“Sa pinaka simpleng explanation — kapag binigay namin ang listahan kay VP Robredo hindi na namin alam kung sino sino ang magkakaroon ng access sa listahan. That will compromise our negation operations,” Aquino said.

Aquino also cited the “need to know rule” in law enforcement where not everybody is given access to sensitive and classified information.

Meanwhile, PNP Officer-in-Charge PLtGen. Archie Gamboa said Robredo’s request may already be immaterial as the ICAD decides as a collegial body.

“Fine, if you want to review the law enforcement campaign. But would it really matter if you know who are on the list? So yes, I adhere to what PDEA Director General says,” Gamboa said.

The PNP chief once again advised VP Robredo to focus on the advocacy and the rehabilitation aspect of the campaign against illegal drugs.

Gamboa said the vice president must entrust the aspect of law enforcement to the agencies that have full know-how on the matter.

“Why would the VP not take the advocacy and the rehabilitation? Law enforcement and prosecution or on the justice could be best left to those who know it.” (from the report of Harlene Delgado) /mbmf

Malacañang open to scrapping controversial Oplan Tokhang

Marje Pelayo   •   November 12, 2019

Operatives of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) keep a man on the ground during a raid in San Martin De Porres district of Quezon City, east of Manila, Philippines, 03 March 2017.  EPA-EFE/ROLEX DELA PENA

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang has announced that it is willing to scrap the government’s controversial anti-drug Operation Tokhang or Oplan Tokhang.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Monday (November 11) announced that the administration was allowing Vice President Leni Robredo to do whatever she wanted to do as the co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD).

“As long as VP Leni is in charge, whatever she feels that should be enforced, we will do it. It is a ‘yes’ if she wants it,” Panelo said.

“She’s been given the authority. If she wants to scrap it, she’s the anti-drug czar. If she thinks there’s something more effective then she should do that,” she added.

However, former Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief now Senator Ronald dela Rosa, who launched the campaign in 2016, reacted to the Vice President’s proposal of scrapping Tokhang.

“I don’t admit that Oplan Tokhang is a failure,” he said.

He noted that if not for Oplan Tokhang, the PNP could not have arrested 130,000 drug personalities and could not have yielded 1.6 million surrenderers.

“What’s wrong with Oplan Tokhang? Baka hindi lang nila matanggap-tanggap talaga na itong Oplan na ito ay talagang sinira ang diskarte ng mga drug personalities dito (Maybe they just couldn’t accept that this Oplan ruined the schemes of drug personalities,)” Dela Rosa stressed.

Oplan Tokhang is the infamous anti-illegal drugs campaign that aims to encourage drug personalities to surrender to authorities but is also hounded by allegations of senseless killings.

President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Robredo to her new post after her series of rants against the government’s policies on eliminating illegal drugs.

Though Dela Rosa approved of Robredo joining drug raids, the former PNP Chief hit on the Vice President saying she should start working and prove herself in action first before asking for additional budget.

“Mahirap naman kakapasok mo pa lang funds na agad ang hinahanap mo. Dapat trabaho muna (It’s difficult to prioritize funds right after you take over the position. You should prove through actions first),” dela Rosa noted.

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