Press Release
November 5, 2019

Transcript of Interview of Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III

On the appointment of VP Robredo as co-chair of the government committee on drugs

SP Sotto: They will realize that hindi pwedeng itigil ang war on drugs. It is a never-ending struggle sapagkat pag pinag-aralan mo ng mabuti ito, this is the only crime that can be called a complex crime. Ito lang ang tanging complex crime in the world because the victim is a criminal, and the criminal is the victim. It's the only crime in the world.

Q: Kaya ni VP Leni yung trabaho?

SP Sotto: Bakit hindi? Eh kung meron namang mga taong dapat magtrabaho diyan, makakatulong, pero ang importante is that you will be able to know where the thrust should be at saan ang approach. In this case, because it is a complex crime, must be a holistic approach at hindi pupwedeng you're merely addressing the issue of illegal drugs. You must also address the issue of drug abuse. Those are two different animals, baka napagkakamalan ng iba na pareho yan, hindi. Hindi magkapareho yan. Iba yung problema ng drug abuse sa illegal drugs. Kaya yes, dapat, para marealize din siguro nung mga advisers ni Vice President na you cannot stop the war on drugs.

Q: Full authority po si VP?

SP Sotto: If you will co-chair the (unclear) of the committee, of course you will have full authority, and therefore you must be able to address all the issues concerned under the inter-agency committee, and that will mean enforcement and prosecution, prevention, re-education (unclear).

Q: (Unclear)

SP Sotto: 1988 pa member na ako (unclear) ako ang isa sa pasimuno nung araw noon kasi I established the Quezon City Anti-Drug Abuse Council in 1988 so kami yung nag-imbento nung inter-agency committee, (unclear) the Dangerous Drugs Board, and then the other local government officials, that's the reason why I was insisting that the vice-mayor's men should become action officers on the problem of illegal drugs nationwide.

Q: Dapat si VP, tanggalin muna yung personal bias niya?

SP Sotto: Yes, I think what the VP should do is to help the country fight the problem of illegal drugs. She does not have to help the President. Alam ko naman na yung grupo nila, ayaw nila, hindi nila gustong suportahan yung administrasyon. You don't have to support the administration. You support the fight against illegal drugs for the good of the country and for the good of the people.

Q: (Unclear)

SP Sotto: Study the problem, help the problem, give alternatives, and give solutions to the current problem instead of just criticizing and never ever say that you should stop the war on drugs. The only people who could say that would be the drug dealers themselves, or perhaps even users.

Q: Ano ang power ng inter-agency committee?

SP Sotto: Yun ang policy making body.

Q: How effective would the Vice President be in this given that in 2016 she was fired from the Cabinet due to lack of compatibility to the President?

SP Sotto: It will depend on how she will handle the problem. If she holds the bull by the horns, then she will be successful.

Q: Yung offer na ito, totoong offer ito para mag co-chair siya?

SP Sotto: I think may written order, why not?

Q: Hindi kaya maging trap lang siya, she might be whipping girl in the end?

SP Sotto: Bakit? Eto nga, again, babalik tayo doon sa sinasabi ko. Hindi pwedeng may sisihan ito. Eto yung problema, magkakampi tayo dapat. Hindi pupwede ito na kasi palpak ka, kaya may sisi, o kaya masama ito, talo tayo, hindi, walang ganun yan. Tumulong na lang kayo imbis na mamintas. Magbigay kayo ng alternatibo o anong sa tingin ninyo ang solusyon. Pero never, never say stop the war on drugs. Yun ang hinding-hindi ako makakapayag, ibig sabihin nun, you are sympathetic to the drug dealers.

Q: Susuportahan ba siya ng admin kapag kailangan niya?

SP Sotto: Of course because it is an inter-agency committee, ang ibig sabihin noon, lahat ng ahensiyang involved in the litany of (unclear) that I mentioned earlier, lahat sila involved doon.

Q: (Unclear)

SP Sotto: The problem against illegal drugs is forever. (Unclear) three years now, anong three months lang, hindi yan ang usapan diyan. To give you a very concrete example, today, let's round up all the drug dealers and drug pushers in the country, and kill them. Tomorrow there will be new drug pushers dahil merong bumibili at may drug dependent. Okay, ipunin natin lahat ng drug addict, ikulong natin, o gusto mo patayan natin lahat, bukas, hahanap sila ng bagong drug addict because they will make it available, because it's big business. That is why they do it in your streets, in your work place, in your homes, in your schools. They do that because of the big business involved. Kaya nga ito ay hindi problemang karaniwan. Ito ay problema ng buong mundo.

Q: Yung timing ng appointment, should suspicion be raised?

SP Sotto: Hindi. People are starting to be political, they are starting to make it political. The issue is political. Ako tingin ko hindi. Imbis na mamintas ka, tumulong ka, ganun ang message ng Presidente. I think that's the message of the President.

Q: As early as now PDEA Director Aaron Aquino is saying that Leni Robredo will fail kasi wala siyang alam sa drugs?

SP Sotto: I will not agree with the statement of Director Aquino. Ano yan, ang ibig niyang sabihin, hindi rin niya naintindihan ang problema? How can you fail, the only way you will fail is if you stop. There is no failure. The failure is when you stop. (Unclear) kung sino ang susundin. E kung susundin niya yung mga pattern na sinasabi ko? Hindi magfafail yun, magiging on-going yung battle. Magiging on-going yung struggle which is continuing.

Q: Kay Gen. Albayalde, (unclear).

SP Sotto: I am not sure, you better check, I was in a very high-level meeting last night, and I don't think that's true. I think I want to ask Senator Lacson.

Q: Do you think yung kay VP is a clear admission sa administration na hindi nila kaya?

SP Sotto: Hindi. I am saying, the message of the President is imbis na mamintas kayo, tumulong na lang kayo because this problem will never stop and the only way you will fail is if you stop. There is no such thing as failure.

Q: (Unclear)

SP Sotto: Hindi. Inter-agency committee, I already told you, prevention, rehabilitation, enforcement, prosecution, international linkage, alternative development, those are the things that are being handled by the inter-agency committee. Pag-aralan ninyo na rin.

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