Ping’s advice: ‘Shootouts’ only for big drug dealers
Keeping street pushers alive would actually be good for the police and President Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs, Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson said on Thursday.
Street pushers are drug dealers who work at the retail level on the streets.
Lacson urged the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to make the effort to arrest street pushers so that they could use them in finding the drug kingpins.
Make them talk
“Don’t kill the street pushers; arrest them. Make them lead you to the big-time suppliers, then finish the job by engaging those suppliers in a shootout,” said Lacson, a former PNP chief.
The law enforcers could then repeat the cycle by arresting another street pusher and finding his source of illegal drugs, he added.
Lacson earlier urged authorities to concentrate on catching the big fish in the illegal drug trade in order to deal with the supply side of the problem.
President Duterte’s war on drugs, marked by the killings of thousands of drug suspects, has drawn criticism from world leaders and international human rights groups for its violence.
PNP figures show nearly 5,000 people have been killed in “legitimate police operations” since Duterte launched his war on drugs after taking office in 2016.
Human rights groups, however, claim the real score is five times that figure.
Killers are police?
They also say the motorcycle-riding gunmen who have killed thousands of other victims are either hired guns working for the police or policemen themselves.
On Oct. 31, Chief Supt. Debold Dinas, Central Visayas police director, said some of the killers were “most likely . . . retired military or police officers” or “active police officers.”
New York-based Human Rights Watch called for an independent investigation, but presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo dismissed the proposal as interference in Philippine affairs.
Another criticism is that the drug war targets only small-time drug dealers and users, while only a few drug lords have been caught.
There is also a plan to publicly identify politicians running in next year’s midterm elections who have drug links.
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri questioned the plan on Tuesday, saying it would be like releasing a “white paper” or a document that makes allegations without showing proof.
File cases first
Zubiri said if there were politicians linked to drugs, then the government should bring charges against them.
“If cases have been filed, then they could release the list because they have evidence,” he said at a news forum in the Senate.
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