FALSE: Robredo ‘crafts’ own survey of drug users

Claim: Vice President Leni Robredo “crafted” her own survey to know the total number of drug users in the country, after she accepted President Rodrigo Duterte’s appointment as drug czar.

A photo of the Vice President with a quote attributed to her circulated on social media after her first meeting with the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) on November 8.

The quote read: "The numbers of drug suspects in the file collected by our Law Enforcement Agency are questionable. That’s why I crafted a more efficient way of collecting data. Isu-survey po natin ‘yung mga suspected drug pusher at drug lords. Tatanungin natin isa-isa kung drug pusher ba sila o hindi. ‘Pag sinabi nila hindi, tatanggalin na sila sa listahan."

(We will survey the suspected drug pushers and drug lords. We will ask them one by one and if they deny, we will remove them from our list.)

Rappler spotted the claim on Facebook Claim Check, the social media network’s dashboard monitoring tool that identifies suspicious posts spread across the platform. At least 3 different pages and accounts were flagged. As of writing, these posts got over 5,500 combined shares, 2,600 comments, and 4,100 reactions.

Rating: FALSE

The facts: Vice President Leni Robredo did not say the words attributed to her in the viral photos. She only questioned the “integrity” of the available data on the number of drug users in the country because it is “not clear.”

Rappler also reached out to the administrators of the page that shared the earliest post available to ask for the source of the quote but received no reply.

During Robredo's first meeting with the members of ICAD on November 8, Robredo said in her opening statement: “Gusto ko pong malaman ‘yung datos (I want to know the data). Kasi (Because) before today, I did not have access to the kind of data that you had access to.” (READ: Robredo opens ICAD meet: The enemy is drugs, not people)

Robredo also told reporters after the closed-door meeting that “the numbers are also not clear,” because the data she received contained different figures. 

When the Duterte government’s campaign against illegal drugs started, Robredo said she was told there were 1.8 million drug users according to official data from the Dangerous Drugs Board. This increased to 4 million in 2017, according to Duterte himself. In February 2019, Duterte again claimed the number surged to 7 to 8 million.

“So I said if we started with 1.8 million and we’re 7 to 8 million now, what happened to all the effort?” Robredo said during the briefing.

On November 14, Robredo gave her first order to law enforcement agencies to complete the government’s baseline data on the extent of illegal drugs in the country. Among the data she wants to see are exact figures on the number of arrested drug users and pushers since 2016, including those surrendered, along with the status of their cases. (READ: Robredo wants 'clear' baseline data on drug problem by end-2019)

The Vice President has become a target of disinformation after she accepted the drug czar role. An earlier claim spread that she banned police under ICAD from carrying firearms, to ensure that no suspect dies during anti-drug operations. This claim is also false. – Pauline Macaraeg/Rappler.com

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