Opposition solons say gov’t ‘not really serious’ in war vs drugs
Opposition lawmakers on Tuesday said the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) exoneration of suspected drug lords “clearly shows” that President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration is “not really serious in its drug war.”
“Well, it seems that the Duterte administration is not really serious in its drug war considering the cases against identified drug lords. They are in the president’s list and Duterte has already identified them as the top drug lords,” Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin said in a press briefing.
Self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, suspected drug triad boss Peter Lim, and several other convicted drug lords were cleared of drug trafficking charges through a resolution reportedly issued by a DOJ panel of prosecutors on Dec. 20, 2017.
The decision, approved by acting Prosecutor General Jorge Catalan Jr., was only revealed to media on Monday.
Villarin also pointed out if these alleged drug lords, who were linked to detained Senator Leila de Lima have been absolved, then the charges against her should also be dismissed.
“I they can put a sitting senator in jail allegedly because of her links to these alleged drug lords, and if these evidences are insufficient against drug lords, then there is a high probability that the charges against senator De Lima should likewise be dismissed,” he said.
For his part, Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman said the policy of the Duterte administration is “to liberate drug lords and liquidate small fish.”
Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Emmi de Jesus said the DOJ’s junking of drug trading charges against Espinosa and others “further reveals Duterte’s drug war as a farce and sham, and affirms the selective judicial enthusiasm of the Justice department.”
Anakpawis Party-list Representative Ariel Casilao meanwhile echoed his colleagues criticisms, saying: “The government’s ‘war’ on drugs, is not only unjust, but class-biased to the rich, the decision was reprehensible.”
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque clarified that the dismissal of the charges is not yet final and is still subject to review by Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre.
“Gaya ng sinabi ko kanina, hindi pa po tapos ang boksing. Wag po tayong magkaroon ng conclusion dahil mayroon pang proseso ng pag-aapila. Wala pa pong pinal na desisyon kung kakasuhan o hindi si Peter Lim. So yung mga ganyang salita po ay salitang politiko,” Roque said in a media briefing.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.