Philippine Vice-President Leni Robredo (R) attends a press conference with Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief Aaron Aquino in Manila on November 8, 2019. - Robredo, the vocal critic that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has named to a lead role in his deadly drug war, on November 8 called for revamping the crackdown and ending its "senseless" killing. (Photo by Maria TAN / AFP)

THE PHILIPPINE Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) says it is impossible to put a halt to drug-related killings in the country, contrary to what vice-president Leonor Robredo had claimed.

According to PDEA director-general, Aaron Aquino, the killings would continue, as most drug suspects opt to engage law enforcers in firefights.

Reports in the Manila Times said that Aquino had earlier invited Robredo to join the police in an operation against illegal drugs.

"To say there would be no deaths during such operations is impossible. There will always be casualties.

"Most drug offenders fight back, and that is why I offered Robredo to join us.

"We are already having a hard time preventing collateral damage during such operations," he said.

Robredo, who presided over her first meeting as co-chairman of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) on Friday, had pledged to stop drug-related killings.

She also cited the need to reassess the claim that the campaign is a war “against the poor.”

“I think it is incumbent upon us to change that thinking. It is probably time we think about shifting to something that is effective and that no one is killed senselessly,” she said.

Aquino said he also wanted Robredo to witness how lawmen put their lives on the line.

“We will not let the vice-president actually join our entry team. I won’t do that. I’ve been with the Presidential Security Group for eight years, I secured (former president) Cory Aquino, I secured Fidel Ramos and I know how to secure a vice-president,” he said.

Robredo had said she is willing to join operations if law enforcement officers think her presence would not be a nuisance.

However, Philippine National Police-Drug Enforcement Group (PNP-DEG) said there is no need for the vice-president to join operations against illegal drugs.

Lt. Col. Alex de la Cerna, DEG’s deputy chief for operations, pointed out that as co-chairman of ICAD, Robredo should only concern herself with policy making.