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Sotto gives Duterte ‘A’ in drug war; Lacson hits anticrime drive

Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Monday gave President Duterte an “A” for effort in the administration’s war on drugs two years into his term.

Mr. Duterte’s “weakest point,” however, is his testy relationship with the press, according to the Senate leader.

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“I will give him an A for effort and sincerity in fighting illegal drugs and criminality. His weakest point is not being in good terms with the media,” Sotto said in a text message to reporters.

The President often verbally attacks the owners of news organizations critical of his policies, including the Inquirer and ABS-CBN. He also ordered a ban on news website Rappler in Malacañang.

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Sen. JV Ejercito echoed Sotto’s sentiment.

“In terms of peace and order [through] war against drugs, there is a very big improvement in the communities,” he said.

Short on prevention

But Sen. Panfilo Lacson took a different view.

“After two years, it may be wise and prudent for his top advisers to go back to the drawing board and reassess what they did wrong and what they are doing right,” he said in a statement.

“For one, the peace-and-order strategy is long on crime suppression and short on prevention,” said Lacson, who used to head the Philippine National Police.

“It should be the other way around. We prevent crimes, and those that cannot be prevented from being committed must be suppressed with solid solution through efficient investigative work and techniques,” he said.

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Lacson said the administration should also reassess its strategies in the economic sector.

“[T]he TRAIN (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion) law needs to be revisited and amended, and the President, with all his strong influence over Congress, must put his foot down on vested interests of some members of both houses,” he said.

‘Work in progress’

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the Duterte administration was still a “work in progress” and respected Lacson’s criticisms of its campaign against criminality.

“We do not object to his views. In fact, this anti-‘tambay’ campaign is also intended to prevent crime rather than to suppress [them],” he said in a press briefing in Maasin, Leyte.

In a statement on Sunday, Roque said the President was able to deliver on many of his promises two years into his term.

“I have witnessed firsthand the President’s hard work, dedication and sense of duty. Major promises have materialized because we are headed by someone who has strong political will, decisive leadership and compassion for his fellowmen,” Roque said.

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TAGS: drug killings, EJKs, extrajudicial killings, Harry Roque, JV Ejercito, Panfilo Lacson, Rodrigo Duterte, Vicente Sotto III, war on drugs
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