Lacson: Focus on big-time drug lords
Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Thursday urged the Duterte administration to change its strategy in its war on drugs by shifting its attention from street dealers to big-time drug lords this time.
At the Meet Inquirer multimedia forum, Lacson said it was time for the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), the lead agency in the drug war, and the Philippine National Police, to “refocus” or change its strategy.
“We have seen every day dead suspects in shorts and slippers. Maybe we should focus on the big-time drug lords. We have yet to see a big-time Chinese drug lord being killed in a police encounter,” Lacson said.
He said if these drug lords were the ones being killed in police operations, people would probably applaud authorities “whatever the circumstances are.”
Mostly poor offenders
He was referring to the public uproar over the killings of thousands of mostly poor alleged drug offenders who, police said, had fought back during antidrug sweeps.
Also on Thursday, the chair of the House committee on dangerous drugs, Surigao del Norte Rep. Ace Barbers, called on law enforcement authorities to strengthen their collaboration and intelligence sharing with the PDEA to thwart drug syndicates trying to outsmart authorities in smuggling drugs into the country.
Mislead and confuse
Barbers noted that drug syndicates tried to mislead and confuse the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and other law enforcers by using multiple routes, like Taiwan and Hong Kong, to ship “shabu” (crystal meth) to the Philippines.
He was referring to the two magnetic lifters that contained 500 kilograms of shabu, worth about P4.3 billion, found abandoned inside a shipping container at the Manila International Container Port last week.
Days later, four other identitical magnetic lifters were found in a warehouse in Cavite that PDEA said showed only “traces” of shabu.
The BOC disputed the PDEA claim, saying the lifting devices did not contain any illegal substances.
“The syndicates are really trying to outsmart us. They really analyzed how to confuse us and get one over on us,” Barbers said in a radio interview.
The lawmaker said that the only way to halt drug smuggling was through close collaboration among all law enforcers.
“There was lack of coordination in terms of sharing of intelligence information. They should … map out a plan of action in detecting and seizing drug shipments,” the lawmaker said.
In Malacañang, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the death of Kian de los Santos, a teenager who was killed by Caloocan police last year, was significant for prompting the President to clarify his pronouncements on the drug war.
“The President will support the police if the killing is legal, he will prosecute the police if the killing is illegal,” Roque said. —WITH REPORTS FROM JEROME ANING AND LEILA B. SALAVERRIA
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