Robredo: Worsening drug menace highlights government’s failure
MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo has again denounced the administration’s war on illegal drugs, saying that President Rodrigo Duterte’s admission that the drug situation has worsened is proof that it is a failure.
The Vice President said that the increase in the number of drug users is another indicator that a supposedly harsher approach to eradicating the drug trade does not deter usage.
Duterte earlier said that there are an estimated 7 million to 8 million drug dependents today. Robredo claimed that under the previous administration, the number was only between 1.4 to 1.7 million.
“Humihingi kami ng datos. Hindi naman tayo sinagot […] Tapos ngayon, sinasabi ni Pangulo na 7 to 8 million na,” she said during a radio program on Sunday.
(We have requested data, but they haven’t responded […] Now, the President is saying that the (drug dependents) now number 7 million to 8 million.)
“Pangulo na iyong nagsasabi so siguro naka-base iyon sa datos. Gustong sabihin, iyong three years na grabe iyong patayan, hindi naging matagumpay,” she asserted.
(The President himself said that. Maybe it’s based on data. But that only means that drug-related killings have not succeeded in deterring usage in the past three years.)
Otso Diretso senatorial candidate Chel Diokno, who was with Robredo during the radio show, echoed the same opinion.
“Ito, itong sinasabi niya ngayon na 7 to 8 million ay talagang admission ‘yan na hindi gumagana at hindi tamang solusyon ang ginagawa nilang war on drugs,” Diokno said.
(This announcement that there are now 7 million to 8 million drug dependents is an admission that the war on drugs did not succeed.)
In a speech in Cagayan de Oro, Duterte said law enforcement agencies are on the brink of surrendering as the country’s drug problem has worsened. He also warned that the country may end up like Mexico which is controlled by drug cartels.
“Things have worsened. My policemen are at the brink of surrendering […] In the end, we will be like Mexico. We will be controlled by drug cartels. The Sinaloa has already entered the country and that is why drugs are being thrown in the Pacific,” he said.
According to the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) — the agencies tasked to carry out the drug war — more drugs are being shipped to the Philippines.
The two agencies, however, noted the gains of the drug war.
This is not the first time Robredo has criticized the drug war. In several instances in the past, she has also called on government officials, including Duterte himself, to stop the allegedly violent operations.
Diokno said that if the government wants to show that it is serious with the drug war, they should pursue drug syndicates and not criminals from poor sectors.
“Palagay ko alam naman ng pamahalaan iyan, kasi worldwide, iilan lang ang cartel talaga na gumagana sa droga. Kaya ako ay nagtataka kung bakit ang kino-concentrate nila ay puro mga small-time,” he added.
(I think the government knows that because worldwide, there are a few drug cartels. That’s why I don’t understand why they are concentrating on small-time drug pushers.)
Before he became President, Duterte warned critics that the drug war would be bloody. Since he took office, government figures show that more than 5,000 drug suspects have been killed in legitimate police operations.
Opposition groups have placed the number between 11,000 and 30,000, including vigilante-styled killings outside police operations. /ee
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