MANILA – The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo on Monday presented a letter it earlier sent to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) which raised concerns over the government’s bloody war on drugs.
The letter, presented by Office of the Vice President legal adviser Barry Gutierrez, sought to counter the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) argument that Robredo should have aired her concerns of irregularities in the war on drugs to local authorities before making a statement before the international community.
According to Gutierrez, the letter was sent to the DILG on January 24 and was stamped received a week after.
“Kahit na kayo ay nakatanggap ng sulat, hindi niyo ito kinilusan. Mahigit isang buwan na ang lumipas, buong buwan ng Pebrero, matatapos na ang Marso, wala pa rin kaming nakukuhang sagot dito sa mga request na ito,” Gutierrez said in a news conference.
In her letter to DILG Secretary Ismael Sueno, Robredo asked for several records and documents pertaining to the government’s war on drugs.
“I have been approached by citizens, sectors, and advocates expressing a variety of concerns on the implementation of the administration's anti-drug campaign. These documents will allow me to respond more effectively to the issues that have been raised,” Robredo said in her letter.
Earlier today, PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa denied receiving a letter from Robredo’s office.
“Paano ko mapansin yung sulat na di nakarating sa akin? Ha? Wala naman akong natanggap na sulat na ganon tsaka sinabi na lang nila yun after na nagreact PNP na mali ang concept niya sa Palit-ulo. Sinabi niya nagpadala ng sulat. Wala naman kaming natanggap eh?” he said.
In a recorded speech played during a side event of the 60th United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs, Robredo urged President Rodrigo Duterte to re-focus his campaign against poverty instead.
Robredo also revealed the so-called "palit-ulo" scheme, wherein authorities would supposedly take a family member instead in case the original person on the drug list cannot be found.
"They told us of the 'palit-ulo scheme' which literally means exchange heads where the wife or husband or relative of a person in a so-called drug list will be taken if the person himself could not be found," Robredo explained.
‘VP GOT IT WRONG’
Both the Palace and Dela Rosa have said Robredo got the “palit-ulo” concept wrong.
“Kung meron mang kaso na ganyan, I have yet to receive a complaint about that. You can just imagine yung version niya ng hulihin yung nanay o 'yung tatay tapos pag ‘di makita yung suspect o kaya yung kapatid? Napakagago naman ng pulis na yan. Iharap niyo sa akin yan pulis na yan susuntukin ko sa mukha yang pulis na yan sa harapan mo. Bubugbugin ko sa harap mo yan iharap mo sa akin. Hindi ko pababayaan yang klaseng gawain na yan kung ginagawa talaga yan,” Dela Rosa said.
“Yung palit-ulo scheme ng pulis, dito nangyayari, palit ulo wherein ikaw nahuli kita drug pusher ka, ngayon palit ulo ilaglag mo sino supplier mo or sino yung drug lord na nasa taas.”
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has threatened to lead an impeachment case against Robredo for supposedly tarnishing the country’s reputation, saying it was a treasonous act.
Gutierrez, however, said the impeachment threat is baseless, arguing that “truth-telling is not an impeachable offense.” – reports from Miguel Dumaual and Jeff Canoy, ABS-CBN News