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    Interview with VP Leni & PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino

    Meeting of the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs

    Quezon City Reception House

    ATTY. BARRY GUTIERREZ: Okay. We’ll now give our friends from the media the opportunity to ask a few questions of the Vice President and Director General Aquino. Sandra, mauna ka na.

    GMA-7: Hi, Ma’am, good afternoon. Ma’am, kanina sa opening statement niyo po, nasabi niyo baka panahon na para pag-isipan na ang pagpapalit ng kampanya kontra droga. So matapos po iyong pag-uusap niyo with various agencies, papalitan po ba iyong kampanya? May papalitan po ba sa strategy?

    VP LENI: Hindi pa nakarating doon iyong usapan. It was just laying the context; it was just laying the groundwork where I stood. Pero iyong hapon pa lang na ito was—as I told Director General Aquino—was really a listening exercise for me. I asked for a briefing from the different agencies and iyong nag-briefing sa akin iyong five different clusters of ICAD—and also the DDB as far as the PADS is concerned, iyong pinaka-framework ng anti-illegal drugs campaign.

    Iyong sa akin, ang usapan namin after today, I will be having small-group meetings with either the clusters or the different agencies para doon sa mga concerns. Ako, I did not want to belabor everyone with all my issues. I told them that I would be seeking for an appointment and I asked for an opportunity from them na bigyan ako ng panahon para iyong mga issues na gusto kong i-raise, i-raise ko. But I was very emphatic from the opening until the closing na iyong patayan, nakaka-diminish talaga siya ng… nakaka-diminish siya ng all the hard work that all the agencies have been putting into this.

    Kasi talagang hindi matatawaran. I was listening to all the reports of the different clusters and the different agencies. Talagang iyong binubuhos nilang trabaho to be able to accomplish what we have to accomplish at the end, grabe. Kaya iyong sa akin, iyong mga nakakasama, iyon sana iyong baguhin, kasi iyong mga mabubuting ginawa hindi naman kailangan baguhin—kailangan pang paigtingin.

    GMA-7: Follow-up lang po.

    ATTY. BARRY GUTIERREZ: Sige. Sure.

    GMA NEWS: Follow-up ko lang po, Ma’am. So far, doon po sa mga narinig niyo kanina, may nakikita po ba kayong areas where you don’t agree, o lahat naman po nagma-match naman po iyong ideas? And if I may also ask the DG to also respond to that question po.

    VP LENI: Iyong sa akin, from the very start naman I have been very vocal. Parati ko namang sinasabi na I don’t agree with the killings, not just because of the human rights concern about those killings, pero iyong mga bansa kasing iyon iyong route na tinake, hindi naging matagumpay. Parati ko naman iyong inuulit. At even before this meeting—that was already clear to everyone—iyong report ng bawat cluster, napakahusay in the sense na for the first time, mayroon na nga iyong framework na pinagpaguran talaga ng Dangerous Drugs Board saka all the agencies concerned, pinagpaguran talaga. For the first time, klaro iyong polisiya. Pero iyong points of concern kasi sabi ko sa kanila, hindi ngayong hapon iyong discussion noon. Iyong pinakasadya talaga ngayong hapon is for me to be briefed on what has been happening and saan kami mag-uumpisang starting point.

    Halimbawa, nagtanong ako ano ba talaga iyong pinag-uumpisahan na numero kasi mayroong pagka-iba-iba sa numero. Marami pang— Lahat naman, everyone admitted that there is still a lot of room for improvement. Marami pa rin—even the agencies themselves—maraming issues on the ground.

    Pero iyong sa akin kasi, iyong mensahe ko ngayong hapon I am willing to work with them and I was just so thankful na despite… despite the circumstances, everyone was willing to give their support. Iyon naman iyong pinakamahalaga. Iyon iyong in-establish ngayon. Pero iyong pinakadetalye will have to be taken up during the small group meetings.

    DIR. GEN. AQUINO: This afternoon, different heads of clusters briefed our Vice President— [VP Leni moves her mic closer to Dir. Gen. Aquino] Okay lang po dumikit sa inyo? [laughter] Ito na nga ba iyong sinasabi ko kaya naiilang ako, eh. [laughter]

    This afternoon, different heads of clusters briefed our Vice President. So far, wala naman akong nakita sa ngayon na dapat baguhin. Mas nakita rin siguro ni Vice President iyong improvement ng bawat cluster na dapat gawin. And then later on siguro, during the small-group discussion, especially if our Vice President will now sit-in with different clusters sa meeting, that’s the only time she would understand everything. For example, if she would like to sit-in in the Law Enforcement Cluster, so doon niya siguro malalaman iyong kabuoan ng every member of that cluster kung ano ang different mandate, ano iyong mga different efforts na ginagawa ng mga clusters na iyon.

    VP LENI: Iyong idadagdag ko lang siguro— Idagdag ko lang siguro, Sandra, na while I was… while I was emphatic about my opposition on the killings that accompanied Operation Tokhang, mayroon ding mga recommendations na binigay. Halimbawa, recommendations on additional metrics sa pag-achieve ng… sa pag-achieve ng results. The inclusion of the advocates saka different—iyong civil society organizations that had been advocating for this—that there be created a platform where they can participate. Sinabi ko naman sa kanila na I think we will all benefit from a broader coalition, which will include not just us who are with the government, pero iyong mga galing sa private sector. Ano naman, wala namang opposition about it.

    Tapos iyong pagmadali noong numero, kasi right now, all we have are estimates. But a survey is already being conducted. Iyong survey kasi every four years lang iyon. The last survey was in 2015. So iyong survey, nangyayari ngayon para ano, para evidence-based iyong lahat na ginagalawan. So iyon iyong aking mga suggestions so far. But I think when I meet with the smaller groups, mas marami pa akong information na makikita.

    The last one and a half days, I spent reading on the available documents. So siguro during the weekend, that’s what I will be doing para maka-catch up ako with what they are doing.

    ATTY. BARRY GUTIERREZ: Okay? Adrian ng ABS-CBN.

    ABS-CBN: Ma’am, ano iyong pagkakaiba-iba ng mga numero, iyong mga agencies, iyong iba-iba iyong mga numero… Ano ba iyong mga puwede niyong i-share sa amin iyong numero?

    VP LENI: Iyong pinaka-last kasi— Kasi iyong Dangerous Drugs Board is the agency that is tasked to conduct the survey. Iyong surveys were being conducted every four years. So nagkaroon na noong 2004, nagkaroon na ng 2008, nagkaroon ng 2012. The latest was released in 2016. Iyong resulta kasi noon, 1.8 million drug dependents—iyon iyong resulta na pinakahuli. Pero ine-explain kanina noong different agencies na umiba na kasi iyong… parang umiba na iyong terrain—umiba na iyong sitwasyon, umiba na iyong terrain. Dati, 5,000 respondents lang ang natanong from 10 LGUs. Now, the survey that is being conducted is expected to be more comprehensive.

    Ang point ko lang naman kung bakit kailangan na talaga ng datos kasi mahirap na lahat estimates. Parang kapag gumagawa tayo ng programa, kailangan sigurado tayo sa numerong ginagalawan natin. Iyong estimates, iyong numero ngayon na ginagalawan, 1.8 [million] iyong sa DDB noong 2016. Ngayon, iyong working… iyong working number is 4 million. Again, that’s an estimate. Alam naman natin na before, lumabas iyong 7 to 8 million. Pero as far as the ICAD is concerned, iyong ginagamit na numero ngayon is 4 million.

    ABS-CBN: Ma’am, may response na ba iyong mga agencies sa metrics na sinasabi niyo na gusto sanang baguhin and iyong response nila sa sinasabi niyong matanggal na iyong mga senseless killings? May ganoon bang napag-usapan kanina, Ma’am?

    VP LENI: Wala pa. Hindi siya inabot ng usapan pero I reiterated that during my closing statement. And I told Secretary Año that I will be setting an appointment, hindi lang siguro sa PNP, DILG also and perhaps the other law enforcement agencies.

    ABS-CBN: Thank you, Ma’am.

    ATTY. BARRY GUTIERREZ: Okay, Arra. Si Arra daw muna.

    DZMM: Iyong sa budget po ba napag-usapan na iyong hatian ng trabaho at itanong ko na rin po, VP, kung sasali ba kayo sa mga drug operations? Sasama po ba kayo?

    VP LENI: Hindi pa tayo nakakarating doon. As I’ve said, ang ginawa lang natin ngayon listening. Mahirap kasing… mahirap na parang sumuong tayo sa isang laban na hindi natin alam kung ano iyong… at ano iyong pinanghahawakan natin na una, numero. Sino ba iyong kalaban? Kapag sinabi natin na giyera, dapat alam natin kung ilan iyong kalaban natin. Eh ngayon nga, hindi pa iyon… hindi pa iyon buo. So, ito, maraming facets ng… maraming facets ng campaign for—against illegal drugs. Hindi lang naman ito iyong pag-raid. Actually, ang bigger portion nito iyong health approach at maraming oras iyong ginugol ngayong hapon para i-discuss what the plans are doon sa approach na iyon.

    ATTY. BARRY GUTIERREZ: Christian, please.

    DIR. GEN. AQUINO: In addition—

    ATTY. BARRY GUTIERREZ: Yes, sige po.

    DIR. GEN. AQUINO: During the briefing presentation, I noticed that a lot of question was raised by the Vice President specifically on the Rehabilitation and Reintegration and also with the Advocacy Cluster. She also asked questions—some of which in the Justice Cluster. Pero pagdating sa law enforcement, isang tanong lang ang tinanong ng ating Vice President. Siguro, medyo nakikiramdam pa ang ating Vice President at mas marami pa siyang aalamin pagdating sa Law Enforcement Cluster.

    ATTY. BARRY GUTIERREZ: Okay, Christian.

    ABS-CBN NEWS CHANNEL (ANC): Ma’am, Ms. Vice President, two points po: first, going into this job, you described the campaign as a failure. Based on the meeting, was that validated or you don’t have enough data yet to say whether your initial assessment was validated or not?

    VP LENI: Una, kaklaruhin ko, I did not say that. Iyong sinabi ko exactly was there was a need to reassess given the numbers that they’ve been giving to us. Kasi iyong numbers being given to us was 7 to 8 million at the time that I was interviewed. So ang sabi ko, if you started with 1.8 million and we’re 7 to 8 million now, ano nangyari doon sa efforts na binuhos? Maybe it’s time to reassess. And ngayong hapon, naging klaro iyon na iyong mga numerong iyon hindi din klaro. Iyong 1.8 [million] ang pakiramdam, not just DDB but also the other members of the ICAD. Ang pakiramdam, parang iyong integrity ng numbers hindi masyadong puwedeng pagkatiwalaan kasi iyong, parang iyong circumstances, iyong sample size, iyong lahat iba naman. And then 2016 came, iyong 4 million ang iba naman iyong iba iyong process na sinundan nila to come up with the estimate. Ang process na ginawa nila, they based it on the number of surrenderees at saka they based it on the tokhang operations. Iyong 7 to 8 [million], walang explanation where it came from.

    So iyong sa akin, klaro na hindi talaga… parang hindi mo mapagkakatiwalaan iyong 1.8 [million] saka 7 to 8 [million].

    ANC: Ma’am, regarding the number of deaths which occurred during the conduct of police operations, what do you intend to do with them without even talking about—without even debating about the numbers? Kasi sabi nila, 6,600. Sabi ng human rights groups, puwedeng triple the number. Sabi ng PNP yesterday, 5,779, based on their figures. But as co-chair, what do you intend to do? Will you have them review that po?

    VP LENI: Ako, that is one of the things that I intend to discuss with the Law Enforcement Cluster. Ako kasi, I did not discuss it with a big group kasi lahat may presentations kanina. Most probably, the first cluster that I will talk to is the law enforcement cluster and I will ask for the explanation behind the numbers that are being given to us kasi kanina, ang na-klaro ko lang sa kanila iyong paiba-ibang numbers as far as the number of drug dependents are concerned. But I have not asked them yet about iyong numbers sa number of deaths, number of killings related to the drug war, number of deaths under investigation, wala pa iyon. Pero it is something that I intend to discuss with them and intend to delve deeper.

    ATTY. BARRY GUTIERREZ: Gab.

    INQUIRER.NET: Hello, Ma’am. The question goes for the both of— Was there any resist—ay, nasagot na pala kanina iyon kung mayroong reaction ang PNP—pero on the part of the DG [Aquino], are you okay with that, na itigil iyong Oplan Tokhang? And what would— Ano kaya ang magiging reaksyon ng mga nasa field operators sa possible new campaign na tatanggalin na iyong Tokhang?

    DIR. GEN. AQUINO: Regarding that, sa PDEA, sa tingin ko hindi naman kailangang alisin ang Oplan Tokhang. In fact, when you define Tokhang, it’s just the same, drug surrenderers to surrender—or drug personalities to surrender. Iyon lang naman iyon, eh. Kaya lang kasi, binabaluktot iyong ibig sabihin ng Oplan Tokhang ng PNP. In fact, it’s a good, ano, Oplan. Siguro lang, siguro, kailangan lang i-reassess ng PNP kung paano mo pa aayusin o pagagandahin ang kanilang operations. Iyon lang naman siguro.

    ATTY. BARRY GUTIERREZ: Oh, sige.

    CNN PHILIPPINES: Sir—for the PDEA chief—Sir, follow-up lang, because the Vice President is saying or she’s putting her foot down that she wants the ano, the senseless killings to stop, Sir. However, in the past, we’ve heard several times kay President Duterte po mismo, nagsasabi sa mga pulis natin na, you know, “if you need to kill the drug addicts, then go ahead and kill them.” So paano po iyon? Parang magkaiba nga kasi may contradiction—sa President natin he’s giving the go-ahead on the killings but now, the co-chair who’s the Vice President is saying that should stop. On your part—from you lang, Sir—I want to hear your initial reaction papaano po kaya iyon mangyayari?

    DIR. GEN. AQUINO: Well, all operations should be transparent and legit. There’s a protocol to follow. So doon lang naman kami, eh. If there’s a rule of law to follow, kung ano iyong batas, iyon iyong dapat nating sundin. I really don’t know, if the President is saying that siguro in jest or something na may sinasabi siyang ganoon. Alam naman natin ang Presidente, poker face. Hindi siya ngumingiti; he just says something. It’s up to you to decode kung ano iyong sinasabi niya. Pero I’ve known the President for more than 22 years. And alam mo na na kapag may sinabi siya sa akin, alam ko kung it’s just a joke or it’s an order for me.

    Again, there’s a rule of law. Dapat iyon ang sundin ng lahat ng law enforcement agencies.

    VP LENI: Ako lang, even if the question is not directed to me, siguro dadagdag din ako. Earlier today, I was assured by the OIC PNP Chief that all operations will be in accordance with the rule of law—that is enough assurance na baka hindi na mangyari iyong sunod-sunod na mga senseless killings.

    ATTY. BARRY GUTIERREZ: Okay, Glen.

    DZBB: VP, ano po iyong magiging sukatan ngayon ng tagumpay ng anti-drug campaign ng gobyerno ngayong kayo na po ang co-chairperson ng ICAD?

    VP LENI: Ako, actually, matagal iyong diskusyon namin doon kasi iyong DDB and the ICAD also already has incorporated the indicators for success doon sa ano iyon, PADS. What’s the—ano iyong P?

    DIR. GEN. AQUINO: Philippine.

    VP LENI: Philippine Anti-Illegal Drugs Strategy. It’s already incorporated in that. Mayroon lang akong mga sinuggest na additional metrics. Halimbawa, kasi very detailed, I think there were 81? Eighty-one ba iyon, Sir? Eighty-one na… 81 na indicators for success. Ako, mayroon lang akong dinagdag. Halimbawa, ang dinagdag ko huwag lang nating kuwentahin iyong drug surrenderees pero ang kuwentahin natin kung ano ba iyong nangyari doon sa drug surrenderees. Huwag na nating kuwentahin kung ilan iyong nagpa-rehabilitate pero kuwentahin natin kung ano iyong nangyari doon sa nirehabilitate, and I suggested that the indicators for success were very good. Pero ang hiningi ko lang, because we only have two and half years left na magkaroon ng mga short-term na targets kasi the targets were… the targets that were indicated were for the rest of the term. Iyong sa akin lang ang sinuggest ko sa kanila, na baka puwede kaming… puwede naming hatiin—hindi naman hatiin, parang lagyan ng mga time-bound na mga targets like for the end of 2019, ano iyong hino-hope natin na ma-achieve. Halimbawa, iyong establishment of rehabilitation centers, ilan ba iyong target natin until the end of 2019? For example, ang target na natin, lahat dapat na regions mayroon na. Halimbawa, kapag sinabi natin na gusto natin na maging drug-free na iyong mga barangay, mahirap kasi kung maging drug free iyong mga barangay until June 30 of 2022. So ang suggestion ko, baka mayroon na tayo for this year kasi mayroon pang 18,000 na hindi pa drug-free. So ang suggestion ko, baka iyong quantifiable at saka realistic na targets gawin namin na time-bound na.

    DZBB: VP, last one, follow-up: nakausap niyo rin po ba si BuCor Chief Gerald Bantag? Kasi I believe nabanggit niyo po noong tinanggap niyo iyong hamon is tatargetin dapat iyong malalaking isda iyong nahuhuli sa halip na maliliit. Ano po ba ang naging takbo ng usapan niyo with BuCor Director Bantag?

    VP LENI: Iyong— Hindi ko pa siya nakakausap and he was not able to attend the briefing this afternoon but I intend to— Nandito ba siya? Ah, hindi ko siya nakita. Hindi ko siya nakausap this afternoon but I intend to set a meeting with them. Hindi lang siguro siya as far as big targets are concerned, pero pati rin iyong intelligence gathering and what kind of information do we have now and what are we doing with those kinds of information.

    ATTY. BARRY GUTIERREZ: Patti?

    PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: Hi. Sir, kay Director General, nasabi ni Ma’am earlier that she’s— Sabi ni Ma’am earlier, she’s open to letting the UN look into the previous killings that had happened already, and

    VP LENI: Ako, I will make a correction lang, ha, kasi I think that was from an old interview. Iyong the UN thing, I had not said a thing about the— Ang na-mention ko about the UN thing was we’re coordinating with the UNODC. We’re coordinating with the UNODC in the Philippines—they’re in the Philippines—for them to brief us on… kasi marami silang mga researches at papers on anti-illegal drugs campaigns, the successes and the failures and the lessons from all the other countries. Iyon iyong na-mention ko after I was designated.

    PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: So Ma’am, since you mentioned that, has that changed? Are you still open to them looking into how the operations were conducted prior to your appointment?

    VP LENI: Ako, iyong sa akin, moving forward, mahirap pang sabihin ngayon dahil wala pa tayong complete information on how we are responding to all the cases that have… to all the cases that have either been filed already or have not been filed yet. That is one of the things that I would have to take up with the Law Enforcement Cluster.

    PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER: And the Director General?

    DIR. GEN. AQUINO: Well, actually, yesterday, I wrote a letter to Malacañang, asking the President on the guidance and the responsibilities, specific functions, by our newly… my new co-chairman in ICAD. So parang— I did this, Ma’am, without malice, actually. And parang medyo gusto ko lang ng kaliwanagan, kasi medyo naguguluhan din ako. Kanina nag-uusap kami ni Vice President, medyo naguguluhan din siya dahil how could she have a Cabinet position kung co-chair ko lang naman sa ICAD. So the things that we need to—I need to—discuss with the President, and hopefully, he can give me a few guidance on it.

    VP LENI: Actually, that was part of our discussion before we started the briefing. Sabi ko kay Chair, “Pasensya ka na, Chair,” kasi I was appointed to be your co-chairman, pero wala kasing—walang parameters, right and responsibilities ko, because the position was non-existent before. So sabi ko, ako, I am also at a loss what is expected of me. Pero habang hinihintay ko pa iyong definite na bounds of my designation, mas mabuti that we buckle down to work already, kaya humingi na ako ng briefing.

    ATTY. BARRY GUTIERREZ: Okay. Marian?

    TV5: Hello, Ma’am. Question lang din po regarding po sa kung ano iyong next steps niyo or plan niyo sa pagtugis sa mga drug lords? Lalo na po sinasabi niyo na nagiging war against the poor na po itong war on drugs natin, so paano naman po iyong pagtugis sa mga drug lord?

    VP LENI: Ako, number one, gusto ko lang siguraduhin na hindi na magpapatuloy iyong senseless killings. Iyon muna. Pangalawa, gusto ko malaman kung ano iyong information na hawak natin ngayon—sapat na ba siya, ano iyong ginagawa natin; at ano pa iyong information na kailangan to coordinate with our international counterparts para makakuha ng mas maraming impormasyon; what the law enforcement agencies have been doing with the intelligence information that we already have. Iyon iyong magiging part ng discussions with the Law Enforcement Cluster.

    ATTY. BARRY GUTIERREZ: Follow-up?

    DZBB: VP, do you plan po na mag-ikot, bisitahin iyong mga law enforcers natin? Para— Kasi, Ma’am, iba rin iyong galaw doon sa baba, eh. Iba iyong— Kayo, Ma’am, lagi kayong nasa liblib na lugar, ‘di ba? Iba iyong approach doon sa mga nasa baba, iyong mga tauhan na nasa operation. Do you plan na lumapit sa kanila?

    VP LENI: Doon naman tayo sanay, ‘di ba? Talagang magtrabaho sa baba. In fact, I already informed Secretary Año that I will be doing that—talking to the different law enforcement agencies—kasi tingin ko mas— Kaysa binabasa ko lang iyong lahat na papel, mas malalaman ko iyong mga totoong issues on the ground kapag iyong kausap ko talaga iyong direktang humaharap doon sa mga kahirapan.

    ATTY. BARRY GUTIERREZ: Howard Johnson from the BBC?

    BBC: Testing, testing. Okay. Just doing a follow-up on the UN question: you said some people want you not to take on this role because you might be set up for fall. To what extent do you believe this role is, in a way, to absolve President Duterte of these challenges from the UN and from the ICC? Are you here to basically show that the country is fixing its own problem and doesn’t need the international community to step in?

    VP LENI: I would like to interpret my designation as a signal that the President is open to having a fresh perspective on how we’re doing the drug war, and the agreement of the President that there was a need to reassess where we are now after three years of doing the campaign. If I was— You know, I want to be very positive about it. I want to look at it as an opportunity for me to, you know, be able to voice out what I have been asking for for too long. I don’t see it as a way of, you know, absolution. If that was my line of thinking, I would not have accepted the position.

    BBC: And just to follow up on that. If the United Nations did want to come to the country, just a clear answer: would you support that? Because the Foreign Secretary said that he agreed with supporting you, unless you invited in the Europeans, as he said this week on Twitter. Would you support them coming in?

    VP LENI: I have said this time and again, that I feel that our problems should first be solved internally. If I was already of the impression— After going around, after meeting with the different clusters, after having all the information that I need to have, if I believe that the government is not doing anything to, you know, punish whoever needs to be punished or to put to justice whatever needs to be put to justice, then I don’t have any problems with inviting them over—inasmuch as I have always said that if there’s nothing to hide, then what are we fearful for? But you know, I would rather that we take care of whatever we have to take care of. There are a lot of things that have happened that should not have happened. But I want… I want to be informed of how we responded to all these things. What I see now are numbers, and even the numbers are, you know— The integrity of the numbers is also questionable, in the sense that it depends on who is reporting the numbers. They change from moment to moment. And I think it is only fair to the agencies involved that I talk to them directly about it before deciding what to do next.

    BBC: Just a quick one—last one: you said that this war on drugs has been characterized as a war on the poor, and many people will say that this is the point, this is actually an issue of poverty. That people were born into drug use because they’re poor. What efforts did you discuss today about tackling poverty, contraception, reducing the population so there won’t be as many people born into poverty and then taking drugs?

    VP LENI: Actually, a lot of agencies that are with ICAD are actually taking care of that aspect. DSWD is here, the Department of Labor and Employment is here, Secretary Mon Lopez of DTI is here and Secretary Mon intimated to us what DTI has been doing in that aspect. So it is so much a part of the conversation—how the socioeconomic agencies are contributing to the fight against illegal drugs. It has been admitted by some of the representatives of the agencies earlier that it is only this year that many aspects of the anti-drug campaign are being put into consideration. And that is the very essence of the Philippine Anti-Drug—parati kong nakakalimutan iyong PADS—Philippine Anti-Drug Strategy. That is the very essence of the strategy: to be able to implement a whole-of-government approach, to be able to implement a really comprehensive approach. Because when we started, it was just arresting, it was just prohibiting, it was killing. But now, the approach is more comprehensive. There are a lot of gaps still. Most everyone admitted that there are many gaps still, but I am very positive that if we all unite in doing the right thing, then we will be doing a lot of—we will be achieving a lot of headway.

    ATTY. BARRY GUTIERREZ: And, finally, Llanesca?

    GMA NEWS ONLINE: Good evening, Ma’am and Sir. Kay Director General Aquino: Sir, you had observations or comments about the Vice President’s competency in taking this role the past few days. You mentioned parang awkward or— You mentioned being awkward having to work with her, being the second-highest ranking official and her being not-so-knowledgable about the law enforcement side of things. After today’s meeting, I would like to ask if you still maintain those observations.

    VP LENI: [laughs]

    GMA NEWS ONLINE: Or do you have anything to say after hearing her insights on the anti-drug campaign?

    DIR. GEN. AQUINO: Before the meeting, I had the chance to meet the Vice President, and we talked a little about what’s happening now, the drug situation in the Philippines. Definitely, sabi ko, kapag nakita ko siguro si Presidente—ay, si Vice President—this is the first time I will saw her, and I’ve never had the chance to talk to her, so definitely I will feel awkward. And truly enough, iyong kanina, I felt awkward, but now medyo at home na ako sa kaniya. [laughter] At nagbibiruan na nga kanina, doon pa lang sa lounge area.

    Now we’re okay, and the meeting went okay. In fact, maraming naintindihan na rin kahit paano si Vice President, and hopefully, in the coming meetings for ICAD, mas marami siyang matutunan—especially on the law enforcement side. Kasi sabi ko nga, it will be bound for failure kasi nga in terms of experience and in terms of dealing and working with law enforcers, parang walang ganoon ang ating Vice President.

    So, maybe, Ma’am, I could ask you to join us in one of the operations. I will also be there together with you, para from the planning stage until such time that during the conduct of operations and after the operations, at least ma-feel mo, Ma’am, kung ano talaga, kung paano ginagawa ng mga law enforcers natin ang pag-conduct ng operations. And, well, puwedeng challenge ko sa inyo iyon, Ma’am, para at least makita niyo rin kung paano nagtatrabaho iyong ating law enforcers sa baba, and from there, mafi-feel niyo how we work. And kung mayroon mang mga lapses o defects na nakikita kayo—kasi mas makikita niyo sa actual, eh. Kaysa iyong may sinasabi si ganito, or nababasa niyo lang, hindi niyo mafi-feel na totoo ba iyong sinasabi ni ganito or ni ganiyan. So if you are there on the ground, you will see for yourself kung ano talaga iyong nangyayari doon, and hopefully, from there makikita niyo kung mayroon bang mga lapses na ginagawa ang mga operatiba, mayroon ba kaming maling ginagawa, mayroon ba kaming mga defects na dapat itugma? So from there, Ma’am, siguro mas maganda na mag-join kayo.

    Just like the media. Iyong mga media natin, laging sumasama na sa amin iyan, Ma’am, from the very— Doon pa lang sa planning stage, sa actual operations, and doon sa pagfa-file ng case, they are with us all the day. So para nakikita nila, para transparent iyong operations, legit iyong operations, na wala kaming ginagawa— Iyong nakikita from the very start until the very end, everything is legit.

    VP LENI: Maraming salamat, General. Gustong gusto ko iyan.

    Pero ito, before we started with the briefing, I assured Director General not to worry about me. Sabi ko huwag nang pag-usapan iyong mga nasabi before, kasi ang sadya naman namin para sa meeting na ito is moving forward—paano ba mag-i-improve on what we already have. Basta ako, parating I’ve been very emphatic about what I don’t want—what I don’t like about the campaign. I’ve been very emphatic that what I don’t want are the killings, especially because the poor are being victimized. And that was the primary consideration why I accepted the position. Iyong sa akin, it’s an opportunity to really amplify what I have been asking for for a quite a long time, and I am very grateful na, again, despite the circumstances, despite the differences, everyone pledged their full support.

    OVP: Okay? Thank you! Thank you, everyone! [applause]

    – 30 –

    Posted in Transcripts on Nov 08, 2019