Vice President Leni Robredo can join the Metro Manila police force in their drug busts if she wants to, Brigadier General Debold Sinas, the acting director of the National Capital Region Police Office said today.
Robredo has just accepted her appointment as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), a position offered to her by President Rodrigo Duterte after the latter was offended by her criticisms of his bloody drug war — a campaign where thousands of Filipinos have been killed.
The ICAD is responsible for ensuring that the country’s anti-illegal drug operation meets its objectives. It is led by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency’s director Aaron Aquino, who said that Robredo might be effective in handling ICAD’s department that is responsible for implementing drug rehabilitation programs, ABS-CBN News reported.
In a press conference today, Sinas said that while Robredo’s security will be an issue, she can join the police force in their drug busts.
“If she would like to request that she join, then we assess if it’s OK, then why not? At least, she can see the police in action. We have nothing to hide. Anytime the vice president will say [that she wants to observe the drug raids] I’ll come with her … Go ahead, no problem,” Sinas said.
Sinas also addressed Robredo’s declaration that she accepted the ICAD post to minimize the number of drug suspects getting killed. He said that cops also have the right to defend themselves from such suspects.
“We also don’t like it when people are killed. But it is inherent for the police to defend ourselves. If they shoot at us first, we have to defend ourselves,” Sinas explained.
“We will abide by whatever instructions of the vice president but I don’t think our manual prohibits us to defend ourselves in case if there is a shootout.”
However, Sinas said he is happy to work with Robredo, a vocal critic of the government.
The government’s anti-drug campaign has been questioned following allegations that the Philippine National Police’s former chief, Oscar Albayalde, interfered when Aquino was supposed to terminate several cops who were accused of stealing kilos of methamphetamine during a 2013 raid in Mexico, Pampanga. Albayalde has been charged for his alleged intervention.