PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday urged the Philippine National Police to continue the unrelenting war against illegal drugs.
In his speech at the PNP 115th anniversary celebrations in Camp Crame, the Chief Executive said the fight against crime and criminality is eternal.
“In every generation, in every political body, whenever there is a congregation of men, human beings would have problems about establishing law and order. Filipinos are no exemption,” he said.
“We have our share of our agony and misery. In my generation especially now we are seeing our country devastated by drugs. It has not only affected millions, but a lot of them are no longer viable as human beings in this planet,” the President said.
And yet, he said despite statistics which showed the large number of drug dependents and the devastation wrought by drugs to our society, “we see a lot of ranting about human rights in my campaign against [illegal] drugs.”
Critics say the war on drugs has already caused the deaths of some 1,000 suspected drug pushers, while others have accused the government of being behind the extra-judicial killings.
“Let me be frank with you this afternoon. The fight against [illegal] drugs will continue and [be] unrelenting until we destroy the apparatus operating in the entire country,” the President said.
“A lot of bleeding hearts, including senators of this republic are complaining about the death rate in the fight against drugs. You know, it is very easy to complain,” he said.
“We in government, and I myself who ordered the campaign against [illegal] drugs, take full sole responsibility for it and for those who are killed in a police operation and a firefight, we are willing to submit ourselves for an investigation before anybody,” Duterte said.
The President also asked why the UN could be so easily interfere in the affairs of the republic while not lifting a finger in other countries whose human rights records are far much worse.
On Aug. 3, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) issued a statement expressing great concern about reports of extra-judicial killing of suspected drug dealers and users in the Philippines.
The President said that while there are drug pushers killed in the country, there are a lot of people, innocent women, children, young women, young men, old men, old women being killed elsewhere without even seeing the slightest justice.
The President then called on the police force not to be intimidated by the UN’s statements on human rights and urged them to increase their efforts in the fight against drugs.
PNP chief Ronaldo dela Rosa on Wednesday told his lieutenants to take a more aggressive stance against drug dealers and threatened to relieve three regional directors whom he said turned in a poor performance in stamping out illegal drugs in their jurisdiction.
Dela Rosa also said he was worried because the number of drug users and pushers surrendering to the police had plateaued at about 600,000.
“In our command conference yesterday (Tuesday) there are still barangays, based on the drug mapping and drug profiling, that are highly drug influenced and yet there are zero surrenderees,” Dela Rosa said.
It appeared, Dela Rosa said, that the chiefs of police of Regions 5 (Bicol), 6 (Western Visayas), and the National Capital Region need to shape up as illegal drug activities are still rampant.
Bicol region is headed by Chief Supt Melvin Buenafe, Region 6 by Chief Supt. Jose Gentiles, and NCRPO by Chief Supt. Oscar Albayalde.
Aside from the regional directors, Dela Rosa also included provincial police directors, chiefs of police of a town or municipality, and their respective men who are not performing their duties well, particularly their mandate of eradicating illegal drugs.
Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto said it was clear Duterte was serious about his war on drugs, and said the senators were not out to embarrass the PNP.
“The bottom line, he is serious in fighting the drug problem. That’s very, very clear to us so we need to help him,” said Recto when asked what the President told them after showing a list of supposed narco-politicians.
Recto recalled that during a meeting in Malacañang Monday night, the President was holding the list which contains the names of mayors, councilors, and former congressmen, many of whom come from Mindanao, Duterte’s home island.
Recto said there were local officials, former officials and policemen on the list.
The Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, chaired by Senator Panfilo Lacson, will conduct a public hearing today (August 18) to discuss several proposals to beef up the administration’s war on drugs.
Lacson said the committee would tackle Senate Bill No. 48, which aims to amend the Anti-Wire Tapping Law (Republic Act No. 4200), thus allowing law enforcement officers, with a court order, to wire-tap on violators of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
Senator Gregorio Honasan II filed a similar bill (Senate Bill No. 21) to authorize the “wiretapping, interception, surveillance and recording of communications of pushers, manufacturers, cultivators, importers and financiers of dangerous drugs.”
Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, meanwhile, said hearings on the extrajudicial killings of drug suspects would be fair and impartial.
“All those invited to the hearings will be treated with due courtesy,” Pimentel said.
He said he will not tolerate grandstanding by his fellow senators at the expense of police officials.
He also affirmed his support for the President’s war on drugs and his confidence in PNP chief Dela Rosa. With PNA