MANILA – Vice President Leni Robredo is back in President Rodrigo Duterte's cabinet, under pressure to lead her anti-drug campaign, which she has repeatedly criticized for the deaths of thousands of alleged suspects while she probably leaves many big drug dealers untouched.
The new campaign under Robredo will focus on preventing unnecessary murders while treating drug abuse as a public health problem, not just law enforcement, said Barry Gutierrez, her spokeswoman and legal counsel. [1
"But what we are trying to avoid here is will-killing is the main strategy, will-killing which seems to be an indispensable part of the effort."
The first order of the day for Robredo is to "get facts straight" about the scope of the drug Gutierrez.  Statistics and other relevant information will be published "as long as they are not privileged," says Gutierrez. "He told ABS-CBN News.
As co-chair of the Inter- The Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) is expected to give Robredo full access to information, including investigative reports on police deaths.
Human rights groups have questioned the government's figures showing at least 6,000 deaths in the drug war and said the actual number could be double or even triple the official number.
The official ICAD figure is 5,799 deaths all on October 31, says Brig. General Bernard Banac, spokesman for the Philippine National Police, who initially placed the number at 6,600.
"The first thing that VP Leni will do is really get a good grasp on the size of the problem is, "Gutierrez told ABS -CBN News.
"As the person who has been assigned to lead government action against illegal drugs, she must have that information."
As ICAD chairman with the Philippine Medicines Agency, Robredo will address the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), one of 20 agencies under the committee.
OSG was criticized for presumably preventing the PNP from releasing records of the drug war, even with requests coming from agencies such as the Human Rights Commission.
In April last year, the Supreme Court ordered OSG and the PNP to submit police reports and other documents relating to the deadly drug campaign.
However, petitioners later described many of these documents, which were handed over to the High Court, as "junk."
Internal Deputy Secretary Jonathan Malaya said that the Vice President would receive all information on how the antibody campaign is being conducted.
But he could not yet say whether PNP and OSG would now be more open to providing such information to the public. The PNP periodically releases what it calls the "real numbers" of the anti-narcotics drive, which human rights groups dismissed as an understatement.
"Let's just cross the bridge when we get there. This is a new dynamic. I do not suppose to know and speculate on what the relationship between ICAD members and the Vice President will be, "he told the ANC's early edition.
Robredo joined Duterte- government of the government housing program in 2016, but ended later that year over policy differences, including his bloody war on drugs.
Her latest appointment poses a much bigger challenge, with the drug war being the main campaign promise that catapulted Duterte to the presidency3 & 19659. 39; s followers often described critics such as Robredo as outsiders with no clear understanding of the scale of the drug problem.
"She will take the drug war in the direction she thinks is right," Gutierrez said.  to tell her she can't do it, they should probably respond to the president because it's the president who gave her the authority. "
Leni Robredo, drug war, ICAD, Rodrig o Duterte, OSG, Philippine National Police, Barry Gutierrez, Bernard Banac, drug murder