Robredo says cleaning up drug lists a top priority

Lian Buan

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Robredo says cleaning up drug lists a top priority
No one has been delisted since 2016, says the vice president, although thousands had already turned themselves in for rehabilitation

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo said on Saturday, November 16, that cleaning up the drug list of the government was a top priority for her, particularly removing names of innocent people.

Robredo made the example of her hometown Naga where, according to her, people “surrendered” and became part of the local list just out of fear.

“Ang sabi nila, marami kasing nakasama doon sa list—marami kasing nag-surrender na hindi naman talaga… hindi naman talaga user, pero nag-surrender kasi natakot,” said Robredo on Saturday after attending the “Walk for Land, Walk for Justice” event in Bula, Camarines Sur.

(They said many of the people on the list just surrendered even though they are not involved in drugs, they’re not users, but they surrendered because they were scared.)

Rpbredo said that the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), which she now co-chairs, agreed during the last meeting to round up the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Councils (BADACS) to start cleaning up local lists.

Rehab effect

Robredo said that she was informed no one has been delisted since 2016, not even those who already turned themselves in for rehabilitation.

“So sabi ko, baka iyong integrity ng listahan may problema, kasi dagdag lang nang dagdag, pero hindi nababawas—hindi name-measure iyong success noong rehabilitation,” said Robredo.

(I said maybe the list’s integrity is the problem, because you keep adding up people but you don’t remove names – so you don’t get to measure the success of the rehabilitation.)

Record-keeping has been a problem in the drug war, and the statistics of rehabilitated drug users is not spared.

Robredo reiterated that she would lead the ICAD to follow a data-driven and evidence-based policy-making.

The drug lists were among the issues being deliberated on by the Supreme Court, which would decide on petitions seeking to declare the drug was as unconstitutional.

Oral arguments in the Supreme Court in 2017 highlighted the lack of transparency of compiling those lists, and even getting your name off the list.

The BADACs and other barangay mechanisms are at the heart of compiling drug lists, slammed repeatedly for violating rights to privacy, rights against illegal search and rights against surveillance.

“Linisin iyong listahan —ilan ba iyong hindi naman talaga— tapos baka gumawa ng… gumawa ng proseso with the Philippine National Police and PDEA, na paano ide-delist? Paano ide-delist iyong mga hindi naman talaga,” said Robredo. 

(Clean up the list, how many people should not be there, and maybe we can come up with a process involving the Philippine National Police and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency on how to delist. How to delist those who should not be there.) –

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan is a senior investigative reporter, and minder of Rappler's justice, human rights and crime cluster.