Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Aaron Aquino said he is not comfortable with giving Vice President Leni Robredo the PDEA’s list of High Value Targets (HVT) in the government’s campaign against illegal drugs.
Robredo, a vocal critic of the government’s war on drugs, has requested a copy of the list as co-chairman of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD).
But Aquino said Robredo could take a peek into the confidential list of the HVT.
PDEA is willing to have the Vice President see the list of of the HVT in a closed-door meeting only in the presence of personnel with security clearance, according to Aquino.
The PDEA chief bared a scenario to explain the strict protocol: “Imagine what will happen to the efforts of law enforcement if that list landed on the wrong hands?”
Aquino said the list is considered classified information that is why not everybody must have a copy of it.
He said security clearance refers to the access given to employees on classified information.
“Sa pinaka simpleng explanation — kapag binigay namin ang listahan kay VP Robredo hindi na namin alam kung sino sino ang magkakaroon ng access sa listahan. That will compromise our negation operations (The simplest explanation is that if we give the list to VP Robredo, we won’t know who would have access to the list),” Aquino said.
Aquino also cited the “need to know rule” in law enforcement where not everybody is given access to sensitive and classified information.
“I myself has no copy of the list in my possession. What I am doing is I check it from time to time with my intelligence service and conduct workshops against these personalities,” Aquino said.
Aquino also clarified that this is not an act of resistance or disrespect to the Vice President rather this is a mere standard operation procedure on law enforcement operations.
The classified information like that of the list of high-value target is not being discussed during an ICAD meeting.