Ex-drug war defender Alvarez now says campaign can be handled better | Inquirer News
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Ex-drug war defender Alvarez now says campaign can be handled better

/ 10:12 AM August 03, 2021
From being one of the biggest defenders of the Duterte administration's war on drugs, former House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez is now saying the controversial and bloody campaign could have been handled better. 

WAR ON DRUGS A police investigator inspects the body of a suspected victim of extrajudicial killing. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — From being one of the biggest defenders of the Duterte administration’s war on drugs, former House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez is now saying the controversial and bloody campaign could have been handled better.

Alvarez made the remark after he was asked about President Rodrigo Duterte’s remarks on Monday night where he said that Filipinos benefitted from the war against drugs, a campaign that has taken the lives of thousands of alleged drug pushers in the country.

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“Ang ayaw ko doon, yun bang maraming nabiktima na naka-tsinelas,” Alvarez, referring to how many of the drug war deaths are poor Filipinos, said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel.

(What I do not like about it is that a lot of victims are wearing slippers [indicating that most of the slain individuals are from the marginalized sector of society].)

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“Para sa akin, pwede namang i-handle siguro yan ng hindi ganun ka-grabe yung approach. Again, babalik tayo doon sa pagpili ng tamang leader for 2022 [For me, I think it should have been handled better and not intense. Again, going back to choosing our best leader for 2022],” he added.

Alvarez said he “does not totally” agree with Duterte’s statement especially as the campaign took many lives, leaving many Filipino families in pain after losing a loved one.

The former House Speaker’s statements are far from his previous stand on the war-on-drugs, which he has defended.

At one point in 2017, Alvarez even urged lawmakers in the Southeast Asia region to emulate and support anti-narcotics campaigns like President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, as he expressed concern over the region becoming a major transshipment hub for illegal drugs.

Alvarez likewise slammed international agencies criticizing the war against drugs for supposedly “interfering” with the Philippines’ affairs.

Asked why he did not voice out his criticism of the war against drugs back then, Alvarez said: “Mahirap dahil I was part of the team sa administration. Mahirap naman magsalita against doon sa kasama mo sa team.”

(It’s hard because I was part of the administration. It’s hard to talk before against someone you have in your team.)

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“Pero now that I’m out, I can really talk sa nakikita kong baka makabuti sa ating bansa […in things I see that would be beneficial to our country.],” Alvarez said.

Alvarez, who represents the first district of Davao del Norte in the House of Representatives, is known to be one of Duterte’s biggest supporters when he assumed the presidency in 2016.

But things took a turn in 2018 when he was ousted as House Speaker and replaced by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. It is said that Davao City mayor Inday Sara Duterte-Carpio, the daughter of President Duterte, played a hand in the ouster.

Alvarez is now a part of political party Partido Reporma which now pushes for the presidency of Senator Panfilo Lacson and the vice presidency of Senate President Vicente Sotto III.

JPV

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TAGS: 2016 campaign, duterte, Illegal drugs, Pantaleon Alvarez, war on drugs
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